Members of Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club took part in Bart’s Bash, a global sailing race and fundraising event.
It was held at sailing clubs throughout the world to set a new Guinness World Record, raise money for charity and to remember British Olympic Gold Medallist Andrew “Bart” Simpson, an inspirational figure who tragically lost his life in a sailing accident last year.
Some 16,000 sailors in 65 countries were competing in the event. All the results from around the world will be collated and an overall winner will emerge, but the event was more about inspiring people to get on the water, a cause very close to Simpson’s heart and which was most emphatically achieved.
A large number of Eastbourne Sovereign’s members took to the water to compete in the event. Deputy Mayor Jim Murray and Tracy Baldock were in attendance to verify the numbers competing, a requirement for the results to count towards the world record attempt. There was a wide age-range of competitors, the youngest of whom was nine and some of the beginners also gave the race a go.
In the stiff North-Easterly breeze, the fast RS800 dinghies and Spitfire catamarans were going to be hard to beat and it was no surprise to see Dave Pike and Nick Jerkins build a commanding lead in their RS800 (pictured).
Mick Whitmore and Sarah Smith, along with the Spitfires of Dave Vercoe and Carole Whitcher and Gary Smith and Lynn Whitmore lead the chasing pack, but a number of capsizes amongst this group allowed Pike and Jerkins to take a good victory in the race, with Vercoe and Whitcher finishing second.
Mark Fryer, of Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club, said, “It will become clear how the Eastbourne sailors fared overall once all the results are in, but with many sailing superstars, including Sir Ben Ainslie and double Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy, competing at various different venues, there was some stiff competition!
“All the competitors will agree, however, that this was definitely an event where the taking part was the important thing.”