Last Sunday, members of the Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club took part in “Bart’s Bash”, a global sailing fundraising race event.
It is held at over 700 sailing clubs throughout the world to set a new a Guinness World Record, raise money for charity and to remember British Olympic Gold Medalist Andrew “Bart” Simpson, an inspirational figure who tragically lost his life in a sailing accident while training for the America’s Cup, in May last year.
The foundation is a charity that was set up to raise money to inspire the next generation of sailors in Britain and around the world.
Some 16,000 sailors in 65 countries were competing in the event.
The event hopes to set a world record for ‘The Largest Sailing Race in the World’.
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.
There were guest appearances from Deputy Mayor Councillor Jim Murray and Tracy Baldock who 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 it was also good to see some of the beginners giving 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.
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.
Event Manager Tim Anderton, leading the results team, said, “It feels at the moment like everyone in the world went sailing on Sunday. We are truly buzzed by the amazing turnouts at clubs and working round the clock to process the overwhelming numbers to find our winner.”
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 medalist Iain Percy, competing at various different venues, there will be some stiff competition for the overall top spot!
All the competitors will agree, however, that this was definitely an event where the taking part was the important thing.