ACF Cowes Week 2019 - Report


ACF Cowes Week 2019 – Report

Cowes Week 2019 could not have been a better week for us at the Andrew Cassell Foundation as we re-launch the charity and continue to grow. It was an extremely windy week and we could not be more proud of every single sailor that joined us.

In total we had 5 Sonar keelboats with our branding on, 1 of which was ‘Jenny’ Andrew Cassell’s boat with him at the helm, who was out to race against us and give us the drive to compete against him, his wishes of a light wind Cowes Week didn’t go in his favour. A second was Bertie, the previous Cowes Week winning team which also is crewed and family owned by another top ambassador for us, Alistair Barter who is a single above knee amputee who has grown up competing against Andy for many years including sailing with the foundation and Paralympic Sailors.

We were aiming to get 2 Sonar’s out but achieved 3 which all had the foundation focus of enabling individuals with disabilities and impairments to race competitively in sailing on an equal level playing field with and against able bodied sailors, in an inclusive and equal environment in all classes.

With sailors travelling from as far away as Glasgow and as close as living in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. We managed to get a total of 18 individuals out racing during the week (not to include the 2 extra boats and able crew we helped source).

All Sailors, able or disabled who joined us for Cowes Week had to sign up to a number of sailing, racing weekends or the equivalent of racing evenings during the week. This was to make sure they had enough sailing experience in a Sonar by the time Cowes week came around. Also that we were able to mix people up to keep the teams as able as possible. This also aloud each sailor to sail with many other individuals which helped build skill and our ability to mix teams up where needed.

Out of the 18 person team we had on the water racing between boats ACF Dolphin, ACF Spare Part and ACF Limbitless, which there was a qualified Coach/Skipper per boat, 7 of our sailors had physical disabilities/ impairments and a few able with mental health needs, which a new passion of sailing is a great sport to help, the rest having limited sailing experience let alone racing. Some of the types of disabled sailors that sailed with us varied from completely blind and deaf, partially blind, Cerebral Palsy and amputations.

Many of our team especially the disabled sailors mentioned they never thought they’d get the opportunity to race the way they did in an event like Cowes Week and other than all being absolutely knackered from the strong windy week all left with a great words and smiling.

We pride ourselves on our views to be inclusive with the participants fully involved individuals supporting each other who are helped where needed, which is mainly creating opportunity in the first place and then mentoring. Thus everyone is a full part of the team and involved in the rigging and sailing of the boat. Not one person is above another and all expected to work as a team.

Management of this can be hard at times due to the mentoring approach plus time limitations of start times, but it’s all down to this area which was a huge success for us as a charity. It’s the first time that everyone has got stuck in as a team, on the water there was competition between boats and the fleet but ashore, all worked hard to help each other from, boats in and out of the water, rigged and de-rigged as a team and safely.

Our results in the Sonar class were;

1st Bertie
2nd ACF Limitless
5th Jenny
9th ACF Dolphin
10th ACF Spare Part.

We also had the joy of having pride in other disabled sailors who have sailed and supported the foundation in the past and have become role models to others.

- Tom Abrey, who has stepped up in sailing form joining the foundation in 2013 to becoming first place in Cowes Week in the Etchell’s class keelboat in some very tight racing. Tom is a single arm amputee who is also a full time farmer on the East Coast travelling down regularly to race.
- Hannah Stodel – Sailing on ‘Cobra’ a King 40 in Class 2.
- Andrew Millband – in his Dragon, which was fantastic to see him getting out his young son to race on the only light wind day (Monday) one of his best results of the week.
- Brian Harding – in his XOD

This year the Saturday of the regatta has become a separate set of results and now known as the Cowes Town regatta. For us even though we were tired had a great feeling towards it being that it is hosted but the our home town and a great way to end the regatta with only 8 of the 11sonars competing and an extremely tuff battle around the course the results came through for us as;

1st ACF Limbitless
5th ACF Spare Part
7th ACF Dolphin

If your reading this and would like to be part of our team heading into to 2020 then please sign up to our website to receive email notifications and even better would be to download our app all by visiting and just send us a message if you need any help either via or via the contact page on the website.

Also check out our Facebook page if you’d like to look back at our daily Cowes Week updates or other live activity

We will very soon be updating our website and app with our winter dates and summer next year as soon as possible. If you think you’d fit in with us but are not sure then feel free to make contact as we’d love to hear from you and discuss the possibility. We can also always organise a trial for you to see if it’s something you’d like to pursue.

Thank you to Paul Wyeth at for letting us use these fantastic action shots of us during the week. To view more, check out our Gallery here or our FB page.

Also a huge thank you again to our supporters for helping us achieve this huge goal;
- Ratsey and Lapthorn Sailmakers – Sail repair support keeping us going
- World Leisurewear LTD – Team kit support
- Jolliffes Chandlery – Every day boating needs
- Alpaca Wraps – Boat Hull branding and application.
- Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club – Our home and close friends
Website links can be found here –

We can’t thank you all enough, especially the sailors for making it a fantastic week and Cowes Week LTD for the support with entry.

We look forward to seeing you all out on the water again soon.

Yours sincerely,

The ACF Sailing Team


Cowes Week LTD

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