HRH The Princess Royal – Patron of the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club – watched a semi-final race between GBR1 and USA before spending time talking with competitors, race officials and event volunteers at Rhu Marina.
Team USA Skipper Walter T. Raineri (pictured above) said:
“There were many highlights of my first trip to Scotland to compete in the 2018 Blind Match Racing World Championships.
“Not only was I successful in skippering my team to the Bronze medal at the competition by winning the petit finals, but one of the most significant and memorable highlights of my trip happened off the water. I was pleasantly surprised that Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, the Patron of the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club, graced us with her presence at an informal meet-and-greet during the semi-finals.
“Her easy-going nature and knowledge of yachting allowed her to integrate right into the mix of sailors with the poise and grace of an experienced racer. When I finally had a chance to speak with her directly, I was surprised by the knowledge she had about my background.
“She obviously spent some time preparing for the event to get to know the skippers of each of the teams. I was humbled by her dedication to the sport and honoured by being able to speak with her so frankly about yachting in general and match racing specifically.”
“It is true that sailors are all members of a worldwide community and it was so wonderful to experience it first-hand with one of the members of the Royal Family. Being totally blind, I could not see the expression on her face but I think I made her smile when I took off my black-out glasses and offered them to her so that she could put them on and experience what it is like to sail blind. I heard her laugh as she contemplated the thought, and am hopeful that she will continue supporting blind sailing not only in the United Kingdom but all around the world.”
David Whitham, Commodore of the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club (pictured below ) said:
“We enjoy a special relationship with HRH The Princess Royal as she is
the Patron of the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club, so we were delighted that she was able to take the time to visit the event.
“The Princess Royal seemed genuinely impressed by the skill and close racing between the teams of completely blind helms and blind or visually impaired crews.
“Back at Rhu Marina, Princess Anne met with each and every one of the competitors, asking them insightful questions about their personal journeys to get to this level of competition. As an experienced sailor herself she has a good understanding of the challenges our sport brings, and seemed fascinated by the achievements of blind and visually impaired sailors.”
All images ©Neill Ross