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8 children aged between 11 and 17 took to the water in an epic challenge to sail 3 RS Quest Dinghies around the Isle of Wight last Sunday (3rd September).

2 of the dinghies were occupied by 3 children with the other containing 2 kids and 1 amazing instructor acting as an experienced pair of hands on the water with them.

They were also supported by 2 safety ribs and a nanny yacht for comfort breaks and should anyone get too cold or seasick.

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The challenge came about after brothers George and Max Newman, aged 11 and 14, wanted to take part in the official around the Island race but were told that the helm had to be over 18. They therefore decided to arrange 1 of their own so the challenge was born and the support has been brilliant.

Last Sunday was their 3rd attempt, as the 2 previous dates were cancelled due to bad weather. This time, however, the weather gods were being kind and it could finally go ahead on what was the last possible date of the year.

The dinghies left Yarmouth harbour at 05:00 when it was still dark but it was a beautiful morning with a light breeze. Getting to the Needles was fairly easy and had been practiced twice before so the children knew what to expect.

Once past The Needles, the light started to come in and fair winds took them along the back of the Island, shutting down at points but so very beautiful to see the coastline from afar. It got rather lively by St Catherine’s with huge waves filling the 14ft RS Quests like bath tubs but they all relished it and battled through.

Once around there was some beautiful sailing and then from Bembridge to Ryde it slowed and they had a lot of downtime.

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At Cowes they dodged the ferries and other craft, proceeding at a fairly slow but steady pace back along Gurnard and from Thorness to Newtown.

The 1st boat to come alongside to give them encouragement was just along here as they were starting to flag but, knowing they were being supported, watched on AIS and even from the sky by a local aircraft kept their spirits up.

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L-R: Bede Liszker (12), Max Newman (14), George Newman (11), Devon Smith (16), Katherine Backhouse (12), Richard Liszker (17), Alice Joubert (12), Catherine Brading Palmer (16) and instructor Joanna Minchin (front right).

Once on the Bouldnor stretch boats from Yarmouth sailing club and the Royal Solent Yacht club came out to cheer them along to give them the last boost needed. For 1 boat with 3 boys on it they hadn’t even left for the entire time as they didn’t need to come to the nanny boat for a comfort break.

It took them 14 hours and 49 minutes of sailing but they were all magnificent, excited, determined and driven to get around to complete the challenge and raise as much money as possible for the club’s charity this year and all the way round they had huge smiles.

Yarmouth sailing club is a perfect place to learn to sail, the safety of the river Yar protects as they build up those skills before being set off into the Solent. The teachers and courses are brilliant and everyone at the club nurture and help along the learning journey.

The club’s charity – the West Wight Dementia Choir – is close to the hearts of many club members and 1 that was started – along with the Dementia Café – with a very dear member heavily involved, who sadly passed away.

The effects of Dementia sadly affects many club members. The service and relief the choir brings is immeasurable, music to a sufferer of dementia is truly like switching a light bulb on in a darkened room, the twinkle in their eyes comes back for a while.

So far the challenge has raised £2,600 and funds are still coming in.

Andrew Newman, father of 2 of the intrepid sailors, said:

“We can not thank our safety boat drivers, owners and crew of our Nanny yacht enough. Without them it wouldn’t have happened and massive thanks to all that have supported the challenge. It’s been magnificent.”

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9 months ago

Well done to all, really kind.

John Smith
John Smith
9 months ago

Kids raising money for the old gits who constantly scorn their generation.

Can’t make it up.

Well done kids.


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