Little Britain Challenge Cup 2022

Flair Facilities’ triumphant return to the corporate regatta with a new boat and altered crew

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The Boat, Crew And Challenge

Flair Facilities returned to the Isle of Wight to battle it out in the Little Britain Challenge Cup, this time with a slightly more experienced crew and a historic and more experienced boat. Still retaining our optimistic helmsman and undying spirit, Flair Facilities may not have won the race but we were definitely the last team standing at the end of the event, albeit slightly unstable in the early hours of the morning.

The dream team 2.0

Returning after a glorious defeat in 2021 was a slightly modified a crew with three new members, trading experience for youth. Teamwork and strategy was integral to our dreams of success this year with our spirits further fuelled by our Helmsman’s (Bill) confidence and hopefulness that  we will win all five races in our class. Despite this not being that case, our time on the water certainly had its high points in which some top notch sailing and maneuvers were implicated, even in the lackluster winds that nearly led to the second day’s racing being cancelled.

Our team consisted of three young and motivated sailing instructors (one being the incredibly tall Garth from the year prior), the lead strategist; David Frost, the captain’s long-term first mate; Mark Evans, the captain himself; Bill Fraser, our Czech siren; Annika Sukova and our very own in-house photographer; Tyler Sciberras. Going for the lightweight approach this year, a smaller team of 8 was initiated in comparison to the crew of 12 from the previous year, leading to a slightly improved placement in the final results but with a much higher level of team cohesion and maximum effort required by all.

The Ceil 3

For those of you with a more technical interest in the actual racing and equipment used, the team was crewing a one-off design by Ben Lexcen (Bob Miller) named Ceil III. Ceil III is a 40-foot, one-tonner sailboat built in 1973 for the Sydney Hobart race, which it won and has since had a colourful history in the boat racing world. Continuing with a 5th place finish in the 1974 South China Sea Race whilst also being one of the few boats to finish the 1979 Fastnet Race. She then didn’t see much action until 1992 when Ceil III landed in the hands of a new owner and was raced consistently for the best part of a decade, racking up wins in the Plymouth-Guernsey Race for the Hart Cup, the Armada Cup 4 times and she was one of the only two boats to finish the Brixham Santander Race in 2001.

Being originally designed for long downwind races, her most iconic feature is a propellor installed the opposite way to normal which results in Ceil III being pulled through the water rather than pushed. This backwards propellor was then later replaced by a reverse folding propellor which is thought of to be the only existing one of its type in the world. Another interesting feature of the Ceil III is the two centre cockpits either side of the mast making the boat easier to operate as most of the sails and winches are centrally controlled next to the headsail and halyards.

The challenge itself

Many may think that property / construction and a sailing regatta don’t necessarily lead to a match made in heaven, but since the start of the Little Britain Challenge Cup (LLBC) in 1988 companies from all around the nation and Europe have formed countless crews and sailed their beloved vessel on a voyage to the shores of Cowes to partake in the industries most thoroughly enjoyed and well remembered networking event. The Little Britain Challenge Cup since its founding has assigned itself the mission of supporting an array of charities with the vast majority being sailing related, some of these being: the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, the Cirdan Sailing Trust, the RNLI and the Rona Sailing Project. The sailing relevant charities being hand selected to encourage a more diverse range of participants within the sport and to make the sport readily available to a younger generation and those who are vulnerable.

The event has been ongoing for 45 years, having raised over £1.25 million as a result (not including 2022’s earnings) and aims to keep pushing this mission until every boat on the seven seas knows of the LLBC! The 2 day event has been held in West Cowes the past 2 years with the races taking place on the Solent and around the cans, with over 300 guests attending in 2021 and the statistics for this years turnout still to be released. It truly is an amazing experience to be apart of and we look forward to racing in this event for many years to come.

To check out how last years racing went, click here and make sure to stay tuned for 2023’s racing antics!