The 26-mile sailing marathon will take place in Plymouth this July

Ordinary sailors, who normally steer clear of a racing buoy, are being urged to sign up for this year’s 26-mile sailing marathon in Plymouth.

Billed as a ‘chase’ and very definitely not a ‘race’, the 12th Eddystone Charity Sailing Pursuit will be held on Saturday 13 July.

The event will culminate in an evening of supper, entertainment and prize giving, hosted by The National Marine Aquarium for the first time. The reserve date, in case of postponement, is Sunday, 14 July.

Since its inception in 2002, the Eddystone Charity Sailing Pursuit has raised more than £300,000 for 123 charitable causes.

This year organisers are adopting a new formula for awarding prize money from the ‘prize pot’ which has been increased to £15,000.

Organiser Julia Creeke, who created the charity challenge in memory of her mother, said: ‘If you’ve got access to a boat and a charity close to your heart, then sign up for a fun, rewarding day out on the water which always adds a thrill to fundraising.

‘The chase always captures the imagination of supporters and can boost a charity’s coffers through sponsorship as well as prize money.’

Last year, 73 cruising and racing yachts raised £41,569 for 40 different charities, which were crewed and skippered by individuals, entire families and charities with crew ages ranging from nine year olds to octogenarians.

‘King Magic’ sailed in at the top of the prize ladder, scooping £1,000 for the RNLI.

By raising £4,525, the highest amount of sponsorship the Pursuit has ever seen, The Island Trust also received a special prize of £500.

This year Plymouth Yacht Haven, Yacht Haven Quay and Blaster Master have joined forces to raise the public profile of the event.

Dr David Gibson, managing director at the National Marine Aquarium, said: ‘We’re delighted to be supporting the Eddystone Charity Sailing Pursuit, and to be welcoming the successful crews to the Aquarium in July.

‘It’s great to be able to support events such as this, which help raise money for charity and share our views on protecting the seas.

‘Our visitors will have a perfect vantage point with all the sailing action taking place just outside the Aquarium, and we are greatly looking forward to the event.’
This year yachts will start from a line off the Hoe, from approx 8am, at intervals depending on their handicap which is based on Portsmouth Yardstick.

The course takes them out to round the Hand Deeps buoy, three miles west of the Eddystone, and back to finish at the same line off the Hoe.

Early bird entries for the individual event and the three boat team event -where all three boats sail for the same charity- began on 1 April and will continue online at until 9 July.

Entries cost £15 with a minimum sponsorship requirement of £50.

As the main aim of the event is to fundraise for charities that ‘benefit the human condition’ the new points system aims to encourage participants to raise as much sponsorship as possible for their nominated charity.

Now with points aggregated for sponsorship, sailed position and date of entry, boats will buy a proportion of the ‘prize pot’.
There is an opportunity for businesses, charitable trusts or individuals to help support the Pursuit by becoming a ‘Friend’ and donating prizes, goods in kind or services; or a sponsor of the three-boat Team event.

For more details contact:

(Pictures: ‘Chasing’ at past Eddystone Charity Sailing Pursuit events. Picture: Phil Russell at Flipix)