Nab Tower Pursuit for Charity – Bombardier III supporting Step by Step
Published 10:42 on 18 Jun 2019
Portsmouth Harbour Marine sponsored a charity sailing regatta, the Nab Tower Pursuit on Saturday, 15th June masterminded by Peter Newell.Yachting enthusiasts, clubs and business were invited to enter with the aim of raising money for their chosen charity. The course for the pursuit was the Nab Tower in the Channel off the Isle of Wight, returning to the start via the Browndown buoy in the Solent. Times are taken to judge the fastest yacht taking account of their sailing handicap. In addition, prizes are awarded for, amongst other things, the greatest amount raised for their chosen Charity.
Bombardier III, owned and sponsored by the Royal Artillery Yacht Club (RAYC) took part in the pursuit, skippered by Matthew Sleap, supporting the Charity, Step by Step. Michael Simpson, as tactician, and Ed Middleton as Bosun, and his son were the Gunner crew. Adrian from the Fareham Foyer came aboard as Step by Step crew. Having never sailed before, he had a day's training the day before the pursuit, ready to take his place as foredeck crew. In addition, there was a young person, Arun from the Ambassador sailing scheme.
Step by Step provides accommodation, mentoring and personal development opportunities for young people who are experiencing hard times or are homeless. Foyers in the south of England in Aldershot, Havant, Fareham, Basingstoke and Shaftesbury provide accommodation in addition to a network of supported lodgings. The charity also has an intervention programme that visits schools, colleges, youth groups and churches to highlight the prevalence of homelessness amongst young people in Hampshire, Dorset.
The pursuit set off from the start off Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue (GAFIRS) boathouse slipway in company with the Bristol Pilot Cutter, Jolie Brise and, despite her superior sailing characteristics Bombardier III kept well ahead of her until the Nab Tower. Conditions were increasingly boisterous requiring a reef as we cleared the Bembridge ledge off the Isle of Wight. Rounding the Nab Tower with a smoothly executed gybe we came back on a broad reach making good time against all the other yachts, although Jolie Brise carrying several more sails was able to make good use of a squall to get ahead. Bugler of Hornet, a Contessa 32, also made good time carrying a spinnaker.
It was an exciting finish with another yacht, Assassin, in close quarters who eventually achieved first overall. Nonetheless, Bombardier III completed the course in an extraordinary 3 hours, on the dot fourth in the timing, but only 10 minutes behind Jolie Brise, the fastest time. That was sufficient to put Bombardier III in second place overall.
Crucially Bombardier III won the Charity Prize, much to the delight of the Step by Step young person, Adrian, sailing with us who was presented with the trophy, donated by Sisters in Arms, by the Mayor of Portsmouth. Step by Step staff were also present at the Prizegiving. The Step by Step campaign has raised £900 at the start of the pursuit – an amount which is still going up. Offline donations and donations via Facebook directly to Step by Step have easily exceeded the target of £1000.
Nab Tower Pursuit is a fine chance to promote the work of Step by Step as a local charity in Gosport, Havant, Fareham and Aldershot and support their work with young people. Click here to donate on the Just Giving website which will remain open for a while. Thank you to our donors, including Michael Simpson's company IdeasFirst who have been particularly generous and the RAYC for waiving the charter fee for Bombardier III.