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Southampton-based Paralympic Gold Medal winning British sailor, Helena Lucas MBE, is inviting individuals and businesses to support her campaign to repeat her success in the Paralympics in Rio 2016.
In an innovative fundraising move, Lucas is offering individuals and organisations the chance to put their names on her 2.4mR keelboat in the run up to Paralympics. Spaces start from as little as £10 up to £1500 and each supporter will have their name or initials incorporated into a ‘Word Cloud’ style logo which Helena will carry on her boat throughout her campaign – the more you donate, the bigger your name.
Helena Lucas MBE is Britain’s only Gold medal winning Paralympic sailor and Team GB’s only sailing Gold medalist to return to Rio 2016. Helena was the only woman competing in her class and was Britain’s first sailor to win a Gold medal in the Paralympics in the 2.4mR in London 2012. She has her sights set on bringing home a second medal for Britain in 2016.
Helena explained, “As a member of the British Sailing Team I am fortunate to receive funding through UK Sport and the National Lottery. But to give her the edge and be in with a real chance of claiming another Gold, the athlete needs to raise extra funds through sponsorship. Headline sponsors are hard to come by so to raise the funds for extra coaching, equipment and innovation, I am inviting individuals and businesses to support me.”
Helena hopes to raise up to £15,000 from the crowd funding campaign, which will allow her to pay for additional coaching, equipment development and travel to compete on the competition waters in Rio. She says, “Its so important to be familiar with the waters in the competition venue and to have the opportunity to have the best equipment and coaching. I really believe this additional funding will give me a fighting chance of bringing home a second Gold medal, and I’d like everybody to follow me on the journey.”
But it’s not all about the money. In 2012, all the athletes talked about how great it was to have so much support from the UK public and what a difference it made to their performance knowing the country was rooting for them.
Lucas said, “In 2012 we had such huge support from the British people and knowing they were behind us really helped the whole team perform so well – it will be a huge privilege to carry the names of individuals and companies in the run up to the 2016 Games in Rio and once again will give me an enormous boost. That’s why we have made sure that these spaces are affordable starting at just £10 – I really want to be able to make the country proud and have as many people involved with my campaign as possible!”
As more supporters sign up, the Word Cloud will grow and based on the spaces available could carry up to 250 names in various shapes and sizes. The logo will be updated every 4 to 6 weeks or thereabouts as people sign up and will be applied to the hull of her boat.
To support Helena click on the tab SUPPORT HELENA at the top of her website page
Toronto was quite a contrast to seemingly tranquil Halifax. A big city, with all the hustle and bustle. The yacht club was based in down town Toronto so the action was never far away. I had a couple of days to set the boat up and squeeze in a bit of sightseeing before Ian (my coach) joined me from Istanbul, where he had been coaching Ben Ainslie and his team in the Extreme 40.
The training conditions were really light, but we managed to get the best out of the days and tick the boxes we wanted. However on Sunday with flat calm conditions we decided to accept there was not going to be any sailing and took advantage to do some sight seeing and go up the CN Tower and treat ourselves to a very nice lunch in the revolving restaurant.
After an intial postponement on the first day, due to lack of winds, we had around 8-10 knots most days with a little more towards the end of the week.
I had what could be described as a bit of a slow start to the regatta, with decidedly average results, but pulled my socks up in the second half to move into a comftable second overall going into the last day, with Stellan Berlin leading and Bjørnar Erkstad in 3rd.
We don’t normally have two discards in a regatta, but two were planned for this Championship with the second one counting after 10 races. With 3 races planned on the last day and the second discard coming in after the second race of the day, it was going to make keeping track of the points and scores really quite tricky. After my mathematical blunder last year costing me the Championship title, I decided to leave the maths and scores to Ian. My results had been really consistent with nothing worse than an 8th, however Stellan and Bjørnar had much bigger discards which was going to make the maths a little tricky.
After the first race of the day, with Stellan getting himself OCS I had moved into first.
However with the second discard about to come in after the next race things could all change. Stellan lead at the final top mark with me just behind in a comftable second. Bjørnar was third but with a pack snapping at his heels. Everything was fine, until we got near the bottom of the run, I had gybed over to keep a cover on Bjørnar who had gybed at the top to separate from the pack going high. Some how I got sucked into the dirty air of the pack behind while Bjørnar found a bit of extra pressure and rapidly closed the gap.
It was a photo finish with Bjørnar pipping me on the line. At this point I was confused at to whether I was second overall or third knowing that Bjørnar had a worse discard. Ian was no help as he had got himself really confused with the discards and thought I was 4th.The race committee decided no more racing for the day as a front was approaching, so I had a long sail in trying to crunch numbers in my head. I was certain I was either 3rd or 2nd. Ian was full of smiles on the dock confirming I was third, I was gutted realising I had lost second on the line! Took a couple of beers before I cheered up and as he pointed out if I had sailed as well as I had at the end of week, at the beginning I could have won. Also without the second discard it would have been a different story.
Anyway Stellan sailed a brilliant regatta to take his 8th World title and if I was going to be beaten by anyone for Silver, I couldn’t think of a nicer person and greater sailor than Bjørnar.
So with the summer over and the major regattas raced, it’s back to training now with a trip to Rio in just under two weeks time! The plan after that is to brave the British winter in December and train in Weymouth with some sunshine planned in January in Miami.
Helena wins in the 2.4mR at Princess Sofia World Cup regatta.
Paralympic gold medal winning sailor Helena Lucas has teamed up with youth charity UKSA to become one of their ambassadors.
Helena made history claiming gold at London 2012, becoming the first ever female winner of the male dominated Paralympic class and Britain’s first ever Paralympic sailing gold medallist.
UKSA offers transformational opportunities to young people through sailing and watersports, from their main base in Cowes, Isle of Wight, and other sites around the UK.
Helena explained: “I’m proud and excited to be ambassador for the wonderful youth charity, UKSA. UKSA uses sailing and watersports as a catalyst to help young people. They know that being out at sea, facing a challenge and working both individually and as a team can make you a more positive, more able person. It gives you confidence, it raises your self-esteem. This is something I strongly believe in and I am very happy to be lending my support to such a fantastic charity.”
UKSA’s Director of Operations, Ben Willows, said: “We are thrilled to have Helena onboard supporting UKSA and we look forward to working closely with her in the future. Helena is a fantastic role model for our students and shows that anything is possible, she is quite an inspirational figure and someone we are proud to be affiliated with.
“We have 9,000 young people a year come through the doors here at UKSA and we show them there are no barriers to enjoying the freedom of the water whether they are interested in racing, sailing, watersports, or working in the maritime industry. We are looking forward to working with Helena to inspire our students even further.”
Helena is now setting her sights on competing in Rio in 2016.
UKSA has been named the official charity of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.
When: Friday 9th August 2013
Where: Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Class: SB20 – start time 10.25
Boat Name: Volvo – Sail number: GBR 3561
There will be enough gold on the water on Friday 9th to sink a small battleship, but for Helena Lucas and Lee Pearson this is different challenge.
Helena, who won Paralympic Gold in the 2.4mR single handed keelboat class in 2012, is campaigning her SB20 in the Cowes Grand Slam and throughout the week in the sportsboat class with her team of top class sailors.
On Friday 9th August Helena will be sailing with ten time Paralympic gold medallist Lee Pearson, who is more commonly found on a horse than on the water. Lee is preparing to hand the reigns over to Helena and join her onboard her SB20 to take on a completely unfamiliar challenge.
Helena met Lee at Wimbledon and once she found out that he had sailed in Cowes Week once before, she could not resist inviting him again. Last time he was a guest on a much larger yacht, this time the experience will be a bit different when Lee joins the SB20 expert race crew.
Team Volvo sailor, Helena explained, “Lee is so enthusiastic about everything, and when I mentioned coming sailing he immediately said he was up for the challenge – my only concern now is that I may have to return the honour and go riding with him – I’ve never ridden a horse in my life!”
Helena and Lee will be sailing in Cowes on Friday 9th August. Their start time is 10.25 for the SB20 class, Sail number GBR 2561 (Volvo) and they will be heading back to shore post racing where they will both be available for interviews.
Please note timings subject to change.
Helena Lucas is supported by Volvo and Henri Lloyd in her SB20 campaign during Cowes Week, as well as by SailSpy.com who are the local suppliers for Go-Pro and Oakley.