Over 1,200 boats set sail on 7 July for the iconic Round the Island Race, four of those boats were filled with 25 young people sailing with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
This was not a first-time trip but part of the Trust’s unique return to sail programme, which seeks to ensure a long-term support system for the young people they support.
The young people came from locations all over the UK to take on the 55-mile race around the Isle of Wight. Trust founding Patron Ellen MacArthur and record-breaking sailor Brian Thompson also joined the crews for the day to share their knowledge with the young people.
The current high pressure that has dominated the UK meant an incredibly challenging race for the 87th edition of the Round the Island Race. After a slow start for the fleet in the early hours of the day, the Trust boats bobbed along taking four hours to reach the Needles and hoping for the sea breeze to materialise. Shortly after the Needles the crew on board Shabeene and Wight Orca made the call to retire and headed back to Cowes along with hundreds of others who struggled to make progress in the windless heat.
The two remaining Trust boats, one crewed by Trust Patron Ellen MacArthur struggled on in some of the lightest conditions seen in the history of the race. After 13 long hours at sea Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust boats Waita and Omerta crossed the finish line and came home to enjoy a well-deserved dinner of fish and chips.
One of the young people sailing on board was Jack, 15 from Bedford. He received treatment for a Acute Lymphoblastic Leukeamia at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge, where he spent long periods of time in isolation. The Trust has been instrumental in helping to rebuild Tom’s confidence after cancer, “Sailing with Ellen MacArthur during Round the Island Race was a once in a lifetime experience; the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has really helped me over the years and massively improved my social skill
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has secured 50 places for the Simply Health Great South Run, Europe’s leading 10 mile road race. Sign up to be part of one of our biggest fundraising events this year and help transform the lives of young people recovering from cancer.