14 August 2023
You never know what opportunities you're going to get once you've sailed with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Yes, you get your first awesome four-day sailing trip and then a chance to return year-on-year for more sailing or outdoor adventures. But beyond that there can be other unique chances that open doors to new careers, people and experiences.
One of our 2023-25 Ambitions is to 'Go Further'; to develop our year-round support of young people after treatment, by providing wider mental health, education, training, and careers support through developing our own work and partnerships (existing and new).
So when we were approached by the RC44 sailing class asking if there were young people who would like to join racing for prestigious World Championship event in Cowes, it was a no brainer!
Since its launch in 2007, the RC44 Championship Tour has established itself as a key series to compete on in the international yacht racing circuit. The worlds of sailing and business combine, allowing amateur owner drivers to race, high performance one-design yachts, with some of the world’s most elite sailors, at some of the world's most iconic sailing venues.
For Josh Rands, who first sailed with the Trust in 2018 following treatment for synovial sarcoma, it was a 'pinch yourself' experience. "It was great watching the professionals sail and seeing how seamless they made everything look, it was incredible to see them in action and maybe pick up a few tips. These experiences keep pushing us out of our comfort zone and continue to help build confidence and belief in a brighter future. "
Samuel Ryan, who started volunteering last summer, having been supported for the last six years after treatment for a brain tumour said: "It's a once in a life-time experience. Being out on the ocean is a completely different world, it's a completely different feeling and it's just complete freedom. You're always growing with the Trust, there's no ceiling, it's just fantastic."
The Trust sailors, plus Volunteer and Team Development Manager Krissi Cartwright-Riley, met the teams at the morning briefing on Friday before heading out on to the water to watch race one from the RIB. Then it was their turn, as every volunteer took up their place on each of the nine boats to experience sailing like never before in the RC44 racing machines. The race was won by Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, with Krissi onboard.
Reflecting on an amazing day, Roisin Smith who started volunteering this year was thankful for the experiences being part of the Trust community continues to provide.
"As I was holding onto the boat I just felt really grateful to be here and have this experience. It's just another one of these amazing things we would never have the chance to do without the Trust, it really is a wonderful charity to be part of."
Stay up to date with how you can benefit from further mental health and year-round support here - Stay supported all year round.