Falmouth racing yacht ‘Black Dog’ is being turned over to a group of children on Sunday [6 August], for the first day of Falmouth Week!
A team of children has been selected to race on Falmouth’s most competitive racing yacht, Black Dog. All of them come via Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust (HRCST), a south-west charity dedicated to helping young people discover a love and respect for the sea through learning to sail and kayak.
Black Dog and Team Gul have won numerous national championships in recent years as well as the J Cup for best yacht, Falmouth Week, Dartmouth Regatta and last year the coveted Vice Admiral’s Cup in Cowes.
Stuart Sawyer, owner and skipper of Black Dog, said: “We are huge supporters of the Trust. As a team, we all get so much from our sailing that we thought this would be the perfect way to support the charity. This led to our idea to ‘Trust the Children’.
“There are many routes into the sport and HRCST does such a fantastic job at introducing youngsters – many of whom would not otherwise have the opportunity – to sailing dinghies and taking to the water in such a positive way. We will be on board to help but we are planning to let the children be hands-on with the racing.”
The five children will crew the yacht – named for the occasion as ‘HRCST aka Black Dog’ – in a real regatta race in a fully competitive environment, for the first day of Falmouth Week (hosted by Helford River Sailing Club).
Charles Richardson, HRCST co-chairman, said: “This is a valuable opportunity for the children to crew on a professional boat and see first-hand the importance of great teamwork and communication in a real racing environment. I am sure it will be very exciting for them and a real boost for their confidence. Who knows where it might lead for the future… the next Sir Ben Ainslie?!”
HRCST, which celebrates its 20th year this summer, provides free sailing and kayaking lessons for children through 21 local primary schools as a means of building their confidence, self-esteem and respect for the environment. The organisation operates a fleet of more than 80 boats, staffed by a team of qualified sailing instructors, from a new base at Helford Passage near Falmouth.
Last year, HRCST welcomed more than 600 young sailors to its training sessions – 90 of whom had special educational needs or disabilities. The charity is helped by more than 120 volunteers on the water and relies on the generosity of its many local supporters to meet annual operating costs of more than £100,000.
HRCST recently acquired the Trevassack Lake site on the Lizard Peninsula, which it plans to develop as a centre of excellence for teaching watersports – particularly for young people with physical, behavioural or educational disabilities.