Ondeck Teams Up With BLESMA For The Prestigious RORC Caribbean 600 Yacht Race
BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association) are delighted to take part in one of the Caribbean's most impressive offshore races on the 22nd of February 2010. As the only all-amputee crew in the race, this promises to be a huge challenge.
The RORC Caribbean 600 is an exciting 605 nautical mile yacht race, which has been set up by The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and Antigua Yacht Club. The race starts in Antigua and will take the BLESMA crew north of the Caribbean, passing a mark off Barbuda, the islands of Nevis, Saba and St Barths, to circle St Maarten before heading down to Guadeloupe and finishing in Antigua.
Ondeck, the UK's fastest growing charter, events and sea school company, has a strong relationship and provided long-term support to the charity BLESMA. They have previously assisted the crew of eighteen sailors, who have all lost limbs serving in armed forces, to sail the Atlantic and take part in the world famous Rolex Fastnet race onboard one of their matched fleet of Farr 65's, named Spirit of Juno.
Simon Hedley, Business Development Manager at Ondeck commented," We are delighted to be supporting this inspiring crew on yet another fantastic challenge. Ondeck has a prominent involvement in the best racing events in the Caribbean calendar and this race is both fun and exciting, already amassing a fleet of star studded boats and to add to the excitement the BLESMA crew will be competing with some of the best sailors from around the world!"
BLESMA is a charity that offers a lifetime of support for all service men and women who have lost their limbs or the use of their limbs or eyes, whilst serving in the armed forces. Their work starts with rehabilitation - proving that there is life after amputation. BLESMA aim to provide life long welfare support - their youngest member is 18 and the oldest is 99!
The skipper of the BLESMA crew, Colin Rouse, MBE, says, "We find that offshore sailing is a wonderful way of defeating isolation and depression - those great enemies of the disabled. Where we differ from most in this respect is that the challenge of life is shared out in the fellowship of shared experience - we look after each other and the able bodied are not needed on board - we are the only all amputee crew to have sailed across the Atlantic and completed the world famous Fastnet race, twice and we're now looking forward to our next challenge!"
BLESMA was formed in the years following the First World War, becoming a national charity in 1932.
Today BLESMA's membership consists of all those serving and ex service men and women who have lost limbs or the use of limbs serving during the Second World War and the many subsequent conflicts and peacekeeping operations since, including the Falklands, Northern Ireland and of course Iraq and Afghanistan. Today there are 3,900 members
The Association has a national headquarters in London, with local branches throughout the UK. It runs two care homes - in Blackpool and in Crieff (Scotland) - which provide full residential and nursing services in up to date en-suite accommodation. They are also very popular with BLESMA Members for convalescence, respite or simply a break amongst old friends. They are lively places.
BLESMA has its own very effective and focused Welfare Service. It has a number of Members still serving in HM Forces and it counsels and helps rehabilitate all new casualties once they return from conflict zones and its expertise and experience is valued and appreciated by the Armed Forces and MoD authorities. Its rehabilitation work is about the fellowship of shared experience, is physically demanding and challenging and proves beyond doubt that there is life after amputation.BLESMA's oldest Member is 99 years old, its youngest is 18. BLESMA is for life.