Press release: 30 Apr '15
At noon on 6th June over seventy yachts will sail out of Falmouth Bay for the start of the Red Ensign AZAB 2015, the largest ocean going race leaving Britain this year.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the event was established by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club in 1975, and takes over 70 competitors to the Azores, a group of nine islands in the Atlantic Ocean, and back again to Falmouth.
Taking part will be Lucy Campbell from Helston who at 16 years old will be the youngest female competitor in the history of the race. Lucy will be racing with the help of her father in their boat Zulu Warrior. She started sailing when she was seven. “We are lucky to be surrounded by the sea here in Cornwall,“ Lucy said. “I first started sailing at Stithians and then on the Helford River with the Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust. I particularly enjoy sailing at speed in strong winds taking on the challenge of constantly controlling the boat against the wind and tides.”
As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations Lucy will be tracked throughout her voyage by one of ten local schools that are adopting a boat to follow the progress to the Azores. Pupils will regularly speak to the skippers as they follow them in real time, learning about the wildlife of the ocean as well as having history and geography lessons about the Azores and the work involved in sailing a boat in a range of conditions.
The race will take the boats away from shipping lanes and helicopter rescue services. Lucy recognizes the challenge, saying: “The biggest challenge for me competing in the race will be the step up from dinghy racing to a 2,500 mile race in the Atlantic Ocean. I will be racing through the day and night to the Azores - racing to beat the other competitors, all of whom will be older and more experienced than me!”
Colin Drummond, one of the founders of the race said: “I admire Lucy for taking on this challenge. Whatever the outcome it is an experience that she will never forget.”
The start of the race on 6th June is not far away and in the meantime Lucy is training hard. “I’m sure I’ll be anxious at the start,” she said, “but once the race is on I’ll be too busy to be nervous. I hope people will be inspired to follow me and the other competitors through the tracking system on the Red Ensign AZAB website www.azab.co.uk.”
Lucy and other skippers will be meeting their adopting schools on the 4th June before the race starts between Pendennis and Black Rock in the Carrick Roads.