Today Peter Harrison launched an historic Admiral's Cup Challenge, which is a new concept as it enters two club teams under one name - the Sailability Admiral's Cup Team.
Sailing under the RORC burgee is a team packed with GBR Challenge and Olympic medallists such as Ian Walker and Ben Ainslie, and aims to be the first British team to win the coveted Admiral's Cup since 1989. Sailing under the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club banner, with Paralympic medallist Andy Cassell is a team half of whom will have disabilities, providing the opportunity to compete on equal terms with the best sailors in the world in the Admirals Cup.
Team Captain, Peter Harrison explained his rationale for the two team entry, "This project combines my two main interests - supporting sailing and disability sport. Through the Harrison Foundation 'Opportunities Through Sport' programme, we have been supporters of RYA Sailability for several years and as a member of the Sailability National Development Board, I fully endorse all of their work. The response from the RYA and the sailing community has been fantastic, with many talented sailors with disabilities eager to trial for the opportunity to join the team.
"I am also delighted to have many of the GBR Challenge team members on board with us as we attempt to be the first British Team to win this event for 14 years. We are up against some exceptionally strong teams, but I'm confident that we'll be capable of challenging for the trophy."
Clive Clifford, CEO of RYA Sailability commented, "We are delighted that Peter Harrison has chosen to continue his support for that RYA Sailability by not only raising our profile by giving us naming rights for both teams, but also by giving sailors with disability the chance to compete alongside and against some of the best sailors in the world. Furthermore both teams will work with us to create fundraising events for the benefit of RYA Sailability. This really is one of the most exciting things to happen to disability sailing in the UK as no disability team has ever competed at this level before".
The Sailability Admirals Cup Team will be made up of 50 sailors. The RORC entry will be sailing on the Farr 52, Chernikeeff 2 skippered by Marc Fitzgerald, and a Rodman 42, skippered by Ian Walker, with 15 and 10 crewmembers respectively. The team pairs Walker with another of Britain's foremost sailing talents, fellow double Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie, for the first time. The Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club entry will be sailing on the Farr 50, Chernikeeff, skipper to be announced, and a Sinergia 40, skippered by Paralympic Gold Medallist Andy Cassell, with at least half of the 25 strong team having disabilities.