Press release

‘Best of British’ evening raises over £55,000 for RYA Sailability

Date posted : 30/03/2012

RYA Sailability joined forces with Coutts bank and law firm Farrer & Co last night (Thursday 29 March) with a fundraiser welcoming HRH The Princess Royal and Skandia Team GBR’s Alex Rickman and Niki Birrell as the guests of honour.

The ‘Best of British’ themed evening was a huge success and raised over £55,000to support sailing opportunities for sailors with disabilities.

HRH The Princess Royal welcomed an invited audience of over 300 guests in the beautiful surroundings of Coutts Garden Court on the Strand in London.  HRH encouraged guests to donate generously and praised the work of RYA Sailability for enabling people of all walks of life to be introduced to sport.

The funds were raised with a live auction conducted by auctioneer Nick Bonham with donated high value items up for grabs including a flying experience from Bremont watches, a weekend at Browns Hotel Mayfair and a gold ring from the David Marshall Beach Rocks collection.

RYA Sailability Chairman Pat Dodd said: “We are delighted with the amount of money raised. I would like to thank every company and individual who has donated a prize, every guest who brought a prize, our wonderful drinks sponsor and of course Coutts and Farrer & Co for coming together to create such a splendid evening”.

Michael Morley, Chief Executive of Coutts said: “It has been an honour to have hosted tonight’s fundraising event. RYA Sailability inspires so many people across the country to be involved in one of our best loved sports and is so important to the sailing community in the UK.”

Thanks also go to the staff of Farrer & Co who have supported the charity by raising funds for a new Skud18 for Skandia Team GBR sailors Alex and Niki who are competing in the Paralympic Games. After London 2012, the boat will then be donated to an RYA Sailability Foundation site.

Niki Birrellsaid: “It has been a pleasure to be here this evening. RYA Sailability is a hugely important charity to both Alex and myself and has been one of the most important aspects in our campaigns. Hopefully we will be able to give something back to Sailability by winning a Gold this summer!”

For more information about RYA Sailability visit

To donate to RYA Sailability call 0844 556 9550 or text 07823 559018


For more information contact:

Susie Nation-Grainger

RYA Press Office

Tel: 02380 604208



Notes to Editors

About the RYA

  • The RYA is the national body for all forms of recreational and competitive boating.  It represents dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and personal watercraft. Sailing is the most successful Olympic sport in this country and Great Britain is the world’s top Olympic sailing nation.
  • The RYA is recognised by all government offices as being the negotiating body for the activities it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 102,000 personal members, the majority of whom choose to go afloat for purely recreational non-competitive pleasure on coastal and inland waters. There are an estimated further 500,000 boat owners nationally who are members of RYA affiliated clubs and class associations.
  • The RYA also sets and maintains a recognised standard for recreational boat training through a network of 2,340 RYA Recognised Training Centres in 43 countries. On average 185,000 people per year complete RYA training courses.
  • The RYA is committed to promoting all forms of boating and making them accessible to everyone.  For more information please refer to our web site     

 About Sailability 

  • RYA Sailability is the leading UK charity for disabled sailing and is the official charity of the RYA. 
  • Through RYA Sailability over 20,000 people with a disability have been able to experience sailing and.... sail regularly
  • RYA Sailability was established to encourage and support people with disabilities to take up sailing and other boating activities and integrate them into the boating community.
  • Sailability supports over 200 recognised sites for disabled sailing throughout the UK.
  • Over 10% of the UK population are disabled and a Policy Studies Institute report has indicated that at least 60,000 of these would take up sailing if given the opportunity.
  • You can find the RYA at RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Southampton, SO31 4YA please visit our website and look under RYA Information for directions.

Registered Charity Number: 1084351