Fastnet Race 2013

Team Endeavour

fastnet race

“Team Endeavour” was brought together to enable injured Service personnel who are two or three years into their recovery pathway to compete in one of the world’s most infamous offshore yacht races, the Rolex Fastnet Race. The Fastnet Race is a biannual offshore yachting race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) of the United Kingdom. ‘Fastnet’ is a difficult contest testing both inshore and offshore skills, boat and crew preparation and speed potential.

“Team Endeavour allowed me to be part of something special, to feel like I am an achiever again, like I am the best I can be. On the boat your injury does not matter, no one asks you why you can’t do something or judges you for your stayed approach to a task. On the boat you just do what you need to do to your best ability. When I first heard of Team Endeavour I was keen just to do a bit of sailing and try something different, but far from this it has helped me rediscover who I am and how I want to be in the future.…” IAN, RAF SERGEANT

In a true example of joined up working across the charitable sector, Team Army, Toe in the Water and The Endeavour Fund came together to support ‘Team Endeavour’s’ ambitions to tackle the Fastnet Race in August 2013.

The team set sail on 11th August 2013 and got off to an amazing start.  The Skipper, Captain Lloyd Hamilton explained:

“A stunning upwind beat saw the team being posted as 2nd in Class on the tracker with the guys all looking nervous with their heads out of the boat hiking hard for that extra 5% of boat speed to reel in our rivals. The race was on, finally they were given the opportunity to show everyone what they were worthy of, legs or no legs!

It was due North of the Needles where disaster struck. The port primary winch pulled itself from the boat taking with it the internal fixings for the grinders for the winches. There was a quick evaluation of the situation as the headsail was lowered by the crew in a smart military like fashion but then reality struck. The damage was so great that there was no way that we could carry on.”

The vessel returned safely to port.  What these sailors achieved just to reach the start line in terms of learning new skills, overcoming injury to be fit enough to compete and to pass the strict entry requirements of a race recognised the world over cannot be underestimated.  Ian, a crew member from the RAF speaks of what it meant for him to be in this team:

“Although easy to dismiss, probably the most poignant moment of the entire campaign for me was wearing the team shirt with all the guys on stage at the Toe in the Water Cowes event. For me this encompassed why the qualifying races had been so important…. to be part of something special, to feel like I am an achiever again, like I am the best I can be. On the boat your injury does not matter, no one asks you why you can’t do something or judges you for your stayed approach to a task. On the boat you just do what you need to do to your best ability.

What I learned through Team Endeavour and the Fastnet campaign was that I am still the strong, capable, resilient, achiever that I used to be, only that it is easier to be these things when I am supported by a team of people who understand me and appreciate what it’s like to be injured.

When I first heard of Team Endeavour I was keen just to do a bit of sailing and try something different, but far from this it has helped me rediscover who I am and how I want to be in the future. Sure, I may be injured, but by redressing my outlook I really do feel like I can achieve anything I set out to… As long as the winch stays attached!”

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