Round the Island race report 2019 - Achievements of disabled sailors


The 2019 Round the Island (RTI) race must have been one of the toughest yet with the lack of wind, evidence of this is shown in the results with 1210 boats starting the regatta but only 283 finishing, as 724 retired and 2 Disqualified.

It was great to see some of the sailors in the race but more so that the 4 we knew, all finished the race except 1 and took part as independent individuals.

They proved that disability is not the barrier but that opportunities, equipment and access are depending on the type of impairment. They also show a love for the sport and competition just like anyone else out there, with racing that brings the achievement through a challenge, but in this case it was about finishing.

Our aim at the foundation is to help people be independent like these sailors, helping to create and find more opportunities like this for individuals that want to put the effort in creating a true inclusive sport.

A bit of back ground info on how these opportunities have come about is summarised in a sentence of; Passion, dedication and commitment to having fun on the water, followed by time on the water to gain the experience needed to take part as a person let alone with a disability or not.

All of the 4 below live every day independent lives, have sailed since a very young age, currently between 33-77, have all either competed at Paralympic level and some have won medals at World Championships or the Paralympic Games themselves.

All just get on with what they need to do with no questions asked, yes they struggle at times but they still do what needs to be done and as someone standing by can only watch and wish for the same but blind to the efforts these have put in over the years.

Those we knew of out there and results were;

- Steven Palmer – Boat name ‘Wasp’ – Class National Sonata, IRC 3
– START TIME 0830, FINISH TIME 2210, … hours racing.
– 4th Overall, 4th in IRC class 3, 1st National Sonata

- Hannah Stodel – Boat name Normandie – Class 40
– 150th Overall, 2 in IRC CLASS 40

- David Hawkins – Boat name Morpheus – Class Multihull – Grand Prix

- Andy Cassell – Boat name – Aeolus, a 30 square metre – Class IRC 3
– 60th Overall, 49 in IRC CLASS 3

Steven Palmer our ACF Bosun and coach is a double above knee amputee who is an injured service man, we originally had another boat for him to be on supporting the foundation but then found out it wasn’t really racing so we patched him back. Matt Grier from ACF was on Wasp a Sonata 23 already and needed a 4th person. Thus stole Steve away, having had a few others to choose from which were all able-bodied Steve was clearly the most experienced both able to trim the sails including having a turn on the helm and became a great asset to the Goodall Roofing RTI team.

To continue to be inspired by Steve, watch out for ACF Spare Part racing in the 2019 Cowes Week which he will be skippering from the 10th August or any of our other ACF activity where he is always supporting and training others.

Hannah Stodel, a single below elbow amputee, who has her whole life battled to prove she can compete at the same level as able sailors continues to inspire many by not giving up and aiming high. Having competed in many World Championships and Paralympic Games is now endeavouring on a Vendee Globe and raced in the RTI with her team on the open class 40, Normandie. To continue to be inspired and follow Hannah’s adventures check out her Facebook page ‘Hannah Stodel Racing’.

David Hawkins, a single below knee amputee who never lets a challenge stop him, working in the industry for Barton Marine up in Whitstable he could out spin or swim many able individuals. He’s passion and drive for helping others and enjoyment of problem solving makes you wonder if his leg even is a problem as he continually powers through and inspires also a racing coach for ACF when he has time. Racing onboard the high speed trimaran which is a new custom design called Morpheus, it’s amazing to watch him be so confident and comfortable on a boat going over 20 knots and bouncing around on a trampoline.

Lastly the man who inspired us all, our key inspiration and mentor, Andy Cassell competed on the classic wooden boat Aeolus it’s hard to know exactly how many RTI’s Andy has competed in, so here is a link to give you his first account from our great supports Ratsey and Lapthorn

Thank you too all who supported us for this event and those who continually support the above sailors to compete in events like this, just to name a few;
- Goodall Roofing
- Ratsey and Lapthorn
- Helly Hansen (Hannah Stodel Racing)

Photo credits to;
Paul Wyeth – Normandie, Hannah Stodel Racing.
John Green Cowes – Wasp, Goodall Roofing.

If boat owners are reading this and wishing to help make opportunities in the future or for next years RTI then please do get in touch.

Your sincerely,

The ACF Sailing Team


Isle of Wight

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