Today at its first-ever UK Open Day, held in Cowes in association with partners Artemis Investment Management and UKSA, the Managing Director of The Even Keel Project, David Rutter, presented a brief review of how the Project has started to really move forward over the past year and outlined the Project’s plans for 2010.
The audience included a number of private individuals and also disability group representatives who will be the direct beneficiaries of the Project’s mission to get more people out sailing on equal terms. The Project was also delighted to welcome the designer of the Artemis 20, Simon Rogers, Nick Wells from Artemis Investment Management and the new CEO of the Royal Yachting Association, Sarah Treseder, whose presence and support was especially noted.
Key initiatives unveiled for 2010 include:
The Project’s presence at the IFDS Disabled World Sailing Championships at Medemblik, Netherlands in July that will enable The Even Keel to showcase the Artemis 20 to a global audience.
The launch of the Artemis Even Keel Challenge that is being raced over three days during Cowes Week 2010 to introduce the most aspiring disabled sailing candidates of the Even Keel’s season to this most prestigious and fun annual racing fixture. The winners will then have the opportunity to crew for professional sailing celebrities in the culmination of the Challenge on Day 3. More details will be released as plans are confirmed.
The Even Keel Project site development programme that is now beginning to gather real pace. The management team is in negotiation to establish centres of excellence in Boston Mass, Rotterdam and in Poland.
The signing of a long-term agreement with UKSA in Cowes, Isle of Wight, as The Even Keel Project’s UK base.
Dave Rutter thanked the Project’s supporters and his team, saying:
“We have achieved so much during the brief time we have been afloat and we fully appreciate that none of this would have been possible without the support of many organisations, for which we are truly appreciative.
“Trying to get new ideas and projects established is never easy during the best of times let alone while a recession has been in full flow, so for the project to have achieved so much in 2009 can only be down to the generosity and faith of our sponsors and hard work from all our staff. It has been a pleasure working with them all and we look forward to 2010 and to rolling out further sites for even more people to enjoy.”
The Even Keel Project operates six beautiful Artemis 20 racing keelboats. Designed by Simon Rogers along America’s Cup yacht lines, these boats are highly adaptable for teaching, training and racing by both disabled and able-bodied sailors. With a superb support team provided by UKSA and the Even Keel Project, and blessed with the perfect weather conditions, a number of individuals happily took to the water in Cowes on Friday afternoon to try out the boats for themselves.
This launch also heralds the start of the project’s ‘Try Sailing’ season, which starts on Thursday 15th April and has been created for disabled groups and individuals who would like to try sailing in a performance keelboat. UKSA is currently taking bookings for Thursday, Friday and Saturday sessions, with promising individuals also having the chance to compete in the Artemis Even Keel Challenge at Cowes Week.
Simon Davies, Director of Youth Development at UKSA, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to be getting involved and to be hosting this inspirational project in the UK. Sailing is one of only a few sports where having a physical disability does not have to be a disadvantage. We are delighted to have been able to offer hundreds of sailors access to the water at UKSA through our adaptive sailing programme and that this project will allow us to help hundreds more.”
The Project is especially grateful to its title sponsor, Artemis, for its continued support. Artemis is a dedicated active investment management house, specialising in investments and asset management for retail investors and segregated institutional investment management.
Additional support is always appreciated and donations to the Project are gratefully accepted.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images