cowesweekuksamediadayUKSA kicked off its role as the official event charity for Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week by pledging to engage the community and get all walks of life involved.

As a local charity based in Cowes, but with an ever increasing national penetration, UKSA’s primary aim is to provide young people from all over the UK with transformational opportunities via sailing – and CEO Richard Thornton believes the core values of the organisation fit seamlessly with Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week: challenge on the water while also having fun.

He explained:

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“Being the chosen charity for the next two years is a big step forward for UKSA, and falls nicely in line with our strategy to massively increase the number of young people on our pioneering youth development programmes*. We have a range of exciting activities planned for the regatta, designed to promote inclusivity for all, and we want to show that sailing is more than just a hobby; it is a catalyst that transforms people’s lives.

“One of our key aims as official charity will be to raise enough funds to offer every Year 6 primary school child on the Island the opportunity to get on the water with UKSA. That’s some 1,600 children we would love to get afloat! It’s often an exciting yet challenging time for pupils, on the cusp of transition from primary to secondary school, and the confidence gained by new experiences such as those provided by UKSA can be really helpful.”

Lynda Affleck, Head of Charitable Giving at title sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management, added:

“As part of our investment in Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week we’re fully committed to providing opportunities for the next generation – as demonstrated by the highly successful youth initiative we introduced in 2012 to support crews of under 25 year-olds at the regatta – and this exciting new relationship with UKSA further cements our commitment to promoting youth participation in sailing.”

During the internationally famous regatta (2nd-9th August), UKSA will have a marquee at Cowes Yacht Haven where anyone can jump onboard one of three keelboats that will be regularly be setting sail. Learn the ropes from the best instructors around and experience an hour’s top sailing for just an affordable suggested donation.

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Two of UKSA’s Farr 65 yachts are racing every day with a selection of celebrity skippers, from soap stars to Olympians, along with some of the youngsters who have transformed their lives through UKSA. Representatives of the media are also welcome to come and sail.

Three evenings of the week one of these ocean-going Farrs will be moored in the Yacht Haven for a ‘Boss up a Mast’ fundraising spectacle, whereby senior executives locked into a Spinlock Mast-Pro harness 100 ft up can only come down once they’ve gone through their mobile phone and urged their contacts to pledge some donations to UKSA.

Aberdeen Asset Management has also agreed to donate £1 every time a race boat passes the Aberdeen Alpha mark for a start or finish, while UKSA are bringing dry-land miniature racing to the marquee in the form of little boats that are blown along gutters filled with water. Teams of competitors, spectators, businesses and the local community will be able to challenge each other.

All-comers to the event can make their own gutter boats using any material they like, with the only specification that the gutter boat must fit within the dimensions of an A5 piece of paper, so they fit in the guttering. A Top Gear style scoreboard will keep a record of who the champions are – and readymade gutter boats will also be provided for charter for impromptu racing.

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If you’d like to volunteer anyone from your own organisation into the ‘Boss up a Mast’ fundraising event please let the UKSA know on 01983 294941.

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