The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR) Disability Trophy was awarded to the [ASTO Member] Gwennili Trust on Friday 23 September at the Southampton Boat Show.
Presented for the very first time in the UK, the award recognises and promotes the inclusion of disabled sailors in two of the world’s largest yacht races, the Barcolona in Trieste, Italy and the Round the Island Race in Cowes.
The trophy was presented by Tullio Giraldi, Commodore of the High Adriatic Fleet, in the RYA Members’ Lounge at Southampton Boat Show. Tullio started the presentation by explaining the history behind the award: “The two yacht races believed to have the largest entry worldwide are the Round the Island Race organised by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes (GBR) and the Barcolana Race in Trieste (ITA).
“Five years ago, the Fleet of Alto Adriatico of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR) presented a trophy to the Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano, the club organising Barcolana in Trieste, to be awarded to the first yacht classified with at least one disabled sailor on board. Rotarian boat owners are encouraged to increase the number of boats with disabled sailors entering the race.
“We have today presented a similar IYFR trophy to the Commodore of the Island Sailing Club, Mark Wynter, which will be awarded at the Round the Island Race in Cowes, and we were delighted to award the 2016 Commemorative Plate to the Gwennili Trust.”
The aims of the International Disable Exchange (IDE) project are two-fold. The first aim is to have an IYFR Trophy for the Round the Island and for the Barcolana races. The second, is to promote the exchange of crews with disabled sailors between the two events, providing the occasion to experience both events in an international collaboration of friendship, sportsmanship and solidarity.
Chris Williams, Chairman and Founder of the Gwennili Trust, said: “We were totally amazed when we heard about this fantastic award. I set up this charity in 1995 and our team of unpaid volunteers have since worked closely with our partner organisations to provide offshore yacht sailing opportunities for over 5,000 people with disabilities. Over the years people of all ages and backgrounds, including serving and retired service men and women with a wide range of disabilities have enjoyed the thrill of offshore sailing with us.
“As an approved RYA Sailability organisation, we charter yachts operated by RYA certified volunteers acting as Skipper and Mate. The Gwennili Trust is immensely proud to have received this fantastic award today, which we couldn’t have won without the wonderful support of our Trustees and the tremendous efforts of our volunteers."
Supporters include the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR), the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV- Federazione Italiana Vela) together with the Italian Paralympic Committee, Panathlon International, Rotary Clubs in Italy (Trieste) and the UK (Cowes), and RYA Sailability (UK).