NewsUKUnited Kingdom Firefighters Sailing Challenge

UK Fire Sailing Challenge 2018 has more boats

UKFSC 2018 is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet. The 15th United Kingdom Firefighters Sailing Challenge (UKFSC) is taking place from the 7th to the 10th May 2018 and will see more boats and more competitors than ever before.

The event records from last year are looking likely to be matched again this year, and probably exceeded. Once again, the emergency services and sponsors taking part in the event will use up the whole Sunsail F40 fleet of racing yachts.

It is expected that over 260 emergency services personnel, serving, retired or industry related will be competing this year, in what is considered to be the largest firefighter participation sporting event in the UK.

Last year there were 2 all-women boats competing; Siren Sisters, the Women in the Fire Service (WFS) entry and Magenta with Hampshire firefighters. Expressions of interest from other all-women crews have been received and we hope to see these numbers increase for the third year running.

At least 6 Clipper round the world sailors will have participated in UKFSC now and the two organisations are working more closely together through the sailors who have taken up the challenge of this incredibly demanding sport, either offshore, in the Solent or on the high seas around the world. Our guest speaker at the Gala Dinner in the 2017 event, Dee Caffari is currently somewhere between New Zealand and Cape Horn competing in the Volvo Ocean Race. Her boat Turn the Tide on Plastic is raising awareness of the global problem that plastic is creating in the seas, causing pollution, distressing sea life and interfering with the food chain.

UKFSC will be doing its bit to raise awareness of this blight on our environment by supporting the national plastic free day on 8th May. Look out for big piles of collected plastic on the quayside that day. The boats we are sailing are a type of plastic but we are hoping they won’t count.

UKFSC is very pleased to announce that the guest speaker this year will be the 3 x World Champion and 4 x Paralympic sailor, Hannah Stodel. Hannah already has some incredible achievements to inspire sailors of all abilities, but she is on her way to take that all a step further by being the first disabled sailor in history to attempt the 23,000 miles, non-stop, Vendee Globe.

UKFSC is sailed much closer to home than that and spectators are welcome to come and watch the action around the Isle of Wight. For those who can’t, look out for lots of photos, blogs, drone footage and social network updates throughout the event. If you want to follow the racing more closely, all the yachts are fitted with AIS and can be tracked online as they progress around the race course.

Dates: 7th May 2018 to 10th May 2018

Venue: Port Solent Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Racing will take place in the waters of the Solent off the Isle of Wight on the UK’s south coast and will include overnight marina berthing in West Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

All boats are identical 40’ Sunsail sailing yachts which are modern, well equipped, fast and fun. There is an option to sail with or without a spinnaker depending on crew experience.

Sponsors and Supporters
The growing list of sponsors supporting the event includes two new Gold Sponsors Bence and AllSigns, with Boddingtons Electrical, FIUK, Big Choice Group and Skilltrack Marine continuing their much valued sponsorship again this year.

Additionally, lots of other companies support the event with donations of goods and services to help raise money for the UKFSC charitable causes. To date, over £95,000 has been donated to charitable causes, made possible by the generosity of our sponsors, supporters, competitors and their friends and family.

If you would like to find out more about UKFSC, or you would like to help to organise, or sponsor, or you want to have a go at sailing this year please make contact through any of the links below, a committee member will answer your query or put you in touch with someone who can.

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