15 May 2023
Taking to the water in twelve high-performance, one design J70 boats, the crews enjoyed a series of short, fun, but competitive races in the Solent, just off Cowes on the Isle of Wight, starting and finishing on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line to the sound of the iconic sailing club’s William IV cannon.
Celebrating the support for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust ahead of the start of the 2023 sailing season, each four-person crew comprised a professional skipper, a volunteer who was supported by the charity after cancer, a guest, and a Trust team member.
Last year, 519 young people enjoyed a sailing or outdoor adventure, and by the end of 2025, we aim to double the number of young people we support in a year.
Further to its sponsorship of our fundraising and awareness-raising activities on the Isle of Wight, Ancasta Group says it wants to assist in making our ‘Bigger Impact, Brighter Futures’ Ambitions a reality.
“We’re all very proud to be able to support the marvellous work of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in its 20th anniversary year,” says Nick Griffith, Ancasta Group managing director. “Over the last two decades, the Trust has helped almost 3,000 young people following a cancer diagnosis.
“After they’ve sailed with the Trust, they come back to shore feeling more accepted and optimistic, and able to take the next steps towards getting their lives back on track and re-establishing their place in the world.
“We hope that our partnership with the Trust will enable the team to help as many young people as possible, now and in the future.”
Participating in the event was 20-year-old Emily. In 2011, she was diagnosed with an optic pathway glioma — a kind of brain tumour that affected her vision — and is now registered blind. She spent two years receiving chemotherapy and still experiences fatigue from the treatment.
Now studying for an MSCI in Physics with Scientific Computing at Bristol University, Wright first came sailing aged 13 from Cowes.
She has since joined four sailing adventures, including the multi-leg voyage around Great Britain in 2017 and with Dame Ellen MacArthur in 2022’s Round the Island Race. This summer, she will volunteer on a trip.
Wright discovered a new passion for sailing through the Trust, and, having been training with GBR Blind Sailing, last year competed at two World Championship events in France and Oman.
Speaking at the ‘Bigger Impact, Brighter Futures’ Ambitions launch, Emily said: “The Trust helped me gain confidence and feel like a normal young person again, and in getting back into especially active hobbies, which was an amazing thing to be able to do. The Trust isn’t about making people love sailing, but the trips made me fall in love with sailing, so I now sail whenever possible without impacting too much on my uni studies. It’s a brilliant way to find what you love doing and meet other people who are going through it with you.
“Being in the scenario where things like disabilities don’t hold you back shows that the things you thought often make you different, do make you different, but for good reasons. And you can bring that and be a really unique and valuable person wherever you go.”