The regatta combines 2 days of networking, teambuilding and yacht racing, whilst supporting Think Big. Each team that enters the regatta will fund at least four young peoples’ big ideas.
The regatta was open to companies working in telecommunications hardware, software or support services, with a crew of 8 employees. They were joined by two professional crew and a Think Big Ambassador, to give a total team of 11 people competing for the title of Think Big Regatta champion. There were a total of 18 teams this year.
We had 3 Think Big Alumni attend, 4 Think Bigger and 2 Think Big project leaders, as well as myself and colleagues Alex and Anita. We were split between the boats so that we could talk about Think Big and promote the programme.
We set sail on the Tuesday morning from Southampton after ensuring I had taken a sea sickness tablet, and an Induction from the Skipper and First Mate. The weather was lovely on the first day, and we were assigned roles in order to train for the first race. It was pretty easy going (after I had found my sea legs) and we enjoyed the racing – the Skipper and First Mate certainly put us through our paces!
We stopped for lunch on board the yacht, ahead of the second race, which obviously my team won (slight lie!), before reaching the Isle of Wight late afternoon.
A quick change and we were at the venue for dinner and an auction, with all the proceeds going to Think Big.
Project leaders, Kurt Lee and Georgia Ball also had the opportunity to talk about their projects, which they received really positive feedback about.
On the second day, after a bacon sarnie, we set sail in slightly more extreme conditions (picture head to toe waterproofs) then the day before, and resumed our positions on board.
The weather was pretty miserable and it rained for most of the morning. The wind was a lot stronger then the previous day, which meant it was much harder work and lots of directions were being shouted at us by the Skipper. We completed the first race of the day, which I’m not going to lie, was pretty dicey. Not afraid to say that I actually thought I was going to go overboard. Yikes. Luckily, the rain stopped and the sun made an appearance just in time for a quick bite to eat, then it was on to the next race.
At this point, everything seemed to fall apart, and our Skipper got injured by the Boom, whilst pushing one of the crew out of the way. Action packed! 5 mins of panic later and we had to unfortunately withdraw from the race as he was too injured to continue. Luckily nothing was broken.
We sailed back to Hamble Marina in Southampton, to a nice cuppa and a piece of cake, after which there was an awards ceremony and we celebrated the top 3 teams.
Overall, the Regatta was an amazing experience and although I thought I would need to be rescued from the sea, I had such a great time. It was great to shout about Think Big and to talk to businesses that had taken part. They were particularly inspired during dinner when they heard more about the impact that the programme has on the young people it engages.
Feedback from the young people has been amazing, they all really enjoyed the experience. One of them is considering doing a sailing course, which is incredible. They gave such a good impression of the programme, and they really did us proud!