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Little Britain Challenge Cup 2021

A corporate social event for the construction industry in the form of a regatta around the Isle of Wight

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The Boat, Crew And Challenge

What do you get when you put together a very fast, race prepared yacht and a mixed crew of experienced and not so experienced sailors? You get the superb Flair Facilities/AVC/ELCO team, a helmsman with unshakeable optimism, several men ‘almost’ over-board, grog filled nights, bleary mornings, new friends for life and a great deal of fun.

The dream team’s valiant battle

(Garth Byrne; Ian White; Juan Cabrera; Mark Evans; Paul Mickleburgh; Bill Fraser; Colin Paterson; Tom Archer; Glyn Sheffield; Annika Sukova; David Frost; Russell Morrice)

In the first of what we hope will be many adventures, the Flair Facilities/AVC/ELCO team learnt the real meaning of teamwork over three tough days competing in September’s Little Britain Challenge Cup. Whilst we did not necessarily achieve the results that our helmsman anticipated (a clean sweep of all five races in our class), we did have some superb moments when everything gelled… but the sea is a harsh mistress and it only takes a momentary lapse in concentration or minor malfunction and your suddenly fighting for position rather than victory.

Our team, the youngest member of which was a veritable giant at seven feet tall to the oldest, a former special forces soldier, Christian missionary and currently a Chelsea Pensioner, remained indefatigable. We endured not only the hardship of the races but also met with enthusiasm the challenge of the post-race pontoon parties and dinners… I am proud to say that we more than held our own against the more experienced teams in this respect.

The Espresso Martini Too

For those of you with a more technical interest in the actual racing and equipment used: the team was crewing a Farr 40 racing yacht (the Espresso Martini Too), the boat was prepared for the race by the Skipper (Glyn Sheffield) and sponsored by Aquapax. The Farr 40 is a 40-foot one-design sailboat designed by Farr Yacht Design in 1996. It was originally designed as a one design class but had some compromises in design to rate under the International Measurement System (IMS) rule. The Farr 40 has held World Sailing class status since 1997.

The challenge itself

The Little Britain Challenge Cup (LBCC) is the property and construction industry’s annual sailing regatta. Since its foundation in 1988, the regatta has attracted hundreds of companies and thousands of crews, and for many it remains one of the best, most enjoyable and memorable networking events in the industry. The regatta is dedicated to raising money for the LBCC sailing charities (e.g. the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust,  the Cirdan Sailing Trust and the RNLI to name just a few) who have been heavily affected over the past year as their funding channels have dried up due to the social and working restrictions caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. Having functioned for 44 years, LLBC has since raised over £1.25 million and aim to keep expanding to raise more and more! 2021’s regatta was held in West Cowes, at Shepards Marina, and raced on the Solent, around the cans, with courses set in both the east and west of central Solent. It was a 2 day event (previously being 1 day in 2020 due to COVID restrictions) and brought in over 300 guests, all of which we can safely say had an amazing time!