We tend to focus on the big-business end of the sport of sailing on this site, but yacht racing as a platform can be used for all kinds of ends. It’s nice then to be able to report on a sailing project that promotes the benefits of yacht racing over and above pure financial ROI or relentless mercenary greed for a piece of silverware.
[cleeng_content id=”766870651″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]TOE IN THE WATER is a non-profit organisation which uses sailing as a vehicle to re-inspire injured servicemen and women, many of whom have been wounded in active service in Afghanistan and Iraq, and who are currently being treated at Headley Court, the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.
The aim of the initiative is simple; to provide injured servicemen and women with a challenging, demanding environment in which they can compete on an equal footing with their peers. Yacht racing provides one of the few arenas in which people with traumatic injuries can compete against and alongside able-bodied people. It is ideal, not least because there is a wide range of different roles onboard, providing different physical and mental challenges.
TOE IN THE WATER recieved worldwide attention when Steve White received much needed backing for his Vendee Globe campaign in return for promoting the charity.
Chairman, Major General Mike von Bertele OBE has launched the charity’s 2010 racing programme. Racing in 2010 will build on the success of the first two years of operation, during which more than fifty profoundly and traumatically injured service personnel were inspired through competitive sailing.
TOE IN THE WATER will be entering eight events in 2010. The programme comprises the RORC Easter Regatta, the J80 National Championships, the J-Cup, the JP Morgan Round the Island Race, Sailing for Heroes Regatta, Cowes Week, the Jersey Regatta and the J80 Autumn Championships.
The 2009 Season saw TOE IN THE WATER ambassadors Brian Thompson and Dee Caffari join the Toe crews at Cowes Week and the Dartmouth Regatta. Caffari said after Dartmouth:
“Sailing with the TOE IN THE WATER crew was a unique experience for me and one I hope I will repeat in the future. These guys will give everything to be at the front of the fleet. It was true competitive racing at its best.”
Multiple world record holder Brian Thompson, who has been involved with the initiative since the outset, said:
“Every time I have gone out with TOE IN THE WATER I have been blown away by their talent and aptitude for sailing and their super positive attitude. The TOE IN THE WATER team is dynamic, energetic and making its mark on sailing regattas all over the UK. The charity has brought fun and competition to both the injured servicemen and women, and the volunteers who love to be involved. I am looking forward to racing with them again in 2010.”
Lloyd Hamilton is the Director of Racing said:
“From a sailing perspective it has cemented the fact that it really is a sport for anyone from the novice to the expert to enjoy. It also instils a firm belief in team work and the importance of it. Everyone who has served in the forces will understand that at some point in a military career you will rely upon your comrades alongside you. This initiative and the results our teams achieve show just how important this factor is.”
TOE IN THE WATER is holding a selection weekend to recruit experienced able-bodied racers to its Core Crew. Volunteers are asked to commit to two events in the upcoming season and are invited to ‘try out’ for a place by attending the weekend (6-7 March 2010). Anyone interested in getting involved in the Core Crew or in fundraising for TOE IN THE WATER should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.[/cleeng_content]