Uckfield sailors and their families are taking part in a gruelling yacht race to raise money for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust - the charity set-up by the history-making round the world yachtswoman to inspire young people’s confidence in recovery from cancer through sailing.
Skipper Clive Wilding, from the town, will join forces with Bob De’Ath and both their families to sail the 42-foot zebra-striped Phezulu (the word means highland in Swahili) from Cowes in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, starting at 6.30am on Saturday June 21.
Phezulu is moored in Brighton Marina and the families regularly compete in races around the coast, including the famous Royal Escape which follows the journey taken by Prince Charles from the Sussex Yacht Club to Fecamp in Normandy.
Clive, who works in property, said: “The families are ten strong so there is never any shortage of deckhands! This is one of the world’s toughest races and about 1,700 boats take part in various classes, from the most expensive racing yachts to tiny gaff-rigged sailboats.
“It takes about seven and a half hours. We all rent a house on the Isle of Wight and enjoy a wonderful weekend as well as raising funds for a good cause.”
On a serious note, Clive will be raising money for the Ellen MacArthur Trust, which focuses on the recovery from cancers. He explained: “We know someone who lost their teenage son to lymphoma and that touched us all. We always do the Seaview YC’s Midsummer Mermaids Regatta on the island every year, which fundraises for the Trust.”
Enthusiastic Round the Island amateurs compete against Olympians such as Sir Ben Ainslie, who is taking part in this year’s race.
Last year he smashed the race record on his AC45 catamaran, JP Morgan Bar, taking two hours, 52 minutes, 15 seconds. The race is also the UK’s fourth largest participation sports event after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is again the official race charity for 2014. For every #raceforall tweet, J.P. Morgan will donate £1 to the Trust, with the goal to raise at least £3,000.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management has been title sponsor of the Round the Island Race for 10 years and is committed until 2016.
For more information about the Round the Island Race visit www.roundtheisland.org.uk or follow @RoundTheIsland on Twitter.
To support Clive in the race visit justgiving.com/clive-wilding