MORE than 160 people battled winds of up to 30 knots for two good causes at a charity regatta.
The Marine Industry Regatta was held at Port Solent yesterday and it saw 16 boats take to the water to raise nearly £2,000 for youth sailing organisations – the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation and the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
One of Britain’s most successful sailors, Olympian Ian Walker, who has recently taken part in TV show Hell on High Seas to raise money for Sport Relief, was at the helm of one of the boats.
Ian, the first British skipper to win the Volvo Ocean Race, said: ‘It has been awesome. I don’t think I have enjoyed a day’s sailing as much for a long time.’
Ian is a trustee of the John Merricks Sailing Trust and he was John’s 1996 Olympic sailing partner. John died in a car accident in 1997 and the trust was set up in his name to inspire young people to take up sailing.
Three young people who have been helped by the trust were with Ian taking part in yesterday’s regatta – Matt Tozer, 19, Aimee Stephenson, 15, and James Dodd, 21.
Matt had a rare brain tumour and he was helped into sailing by the trust and the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust.
He said he enjoyed the day’s sailing – and he was awarded a prize for being Rookie of the Day.
‘It has been really great fun,’ he said.
‘I absolutely loved the day. I learnt a lot and it is amazing to able to sail with somebody like Ian.’
The event was organised by Survitec Group, a marine technology company, the Marine Advertising Agency and Crewsaver, a manufacturer of marine safety equipment.
The winning team was from Marine Resources and Wetsuit Outlet was second.