Autism on the Water setting sail for Bangor Town Regatta

Posted: 27/2/2020


A Scottish registered charity is planning to make their debut at this years Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover Bangor Town Regatta which will also be their first excursion to Ireland! Autism on the Water is a charity which raises awareness of the Autistic spectrum through the sport of sailing. Murray MacDonald the charity’s founder and who is also autistic has been building up this fantastic initiative which has become recognised not just across Scotland and the UK but also as far as Hong Kong, Australia and Antigua! The charity’s main ambassador is David Witt who skippered Sun Hung Kai Scallywag in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race and he has been heavily involved in the charity’s success.


Autism on the Water also provides opportunities for Autistic people of all ages to get out on the water for day sails and more notably weekend outings on the tranquil Crinan Canal. The charity owns its own yacht a Hunter 707 which has been raced competitively in the growing one-design fleet in Scotland and achieved successes in events such as the Scottish Series and West Highland Week. Murray skippers the boat with a crew of people all with backgrounds involving autism, some are autistic people themselves and others have relatives with Autism, all involved with the programme whilst wanting to do well always maintain that their out there to create a better understanding of Autism through sailing.


This year, Autism on the Water are planning to travel over to Ireland for Bangor Town Regatta, one of the crew on board has Asperger’s Syndrome alongside Murray who will be skipper. Murray said “I have sailed for over 25 years now and have never ever been to Bangor before! This year we are making a huge effort to make the journey across the North Channel for this wonderful event hosted by the Royal Ulster Yacht Club”. Murray added that the charity had so far received a wonderful amount of support from individuals particularly Phil Davis and Fiona Hicks, both of RUYC. “Fiona and Phil have been very kind in investigating areas support to enable us to travel to Bangor” said Murray “everyone involved with the charity are very grateful to them both”. The charity has also had support from IRC Rating and RORC who have provided the boat with a generously discounted IRC Handicap Certificate.


The journey for team Autism on the Water involves two options, one is to deliver the boat by land and ferry which can be costly or the second option is to deliver the boat from the Clyde to Bangor via the North Channel but the watery version rather than the concrete version! “A Hunter 707 is a small keelboat but is capable of taking on a lot of pressure” said Murray “however like with most small boats, weather can dictate and also spoil all plans so we have to be sensible if transporting by sea. We are in contact with various couriers and trying to negotiate pricing. It is all looking positive presently but we are aware that it is costly for the charity but also worth it”. Autism on the Water are looking for sponsors to help cover their logistical costs such as entry, craning fees, ferry fees and transport fee and the charity in returns offers their investors unlimited social media coverage, a battle flag flown on the charity’s yacht and extensive press coverage. “The charity would not be able to operate without these sponsors and supporters that we have” said Murray “we are heavily indebted to them all for their ongoing support but personally I cannot thank our long time supporters Ken Pritchard and Gerry Fitzgerald enough! They have been an absolute godsent to the charity”.


Anyone who is interested in sponsoring Autism on the Water for Bangor Town Regatta especially if you’re an Irish based organisation should contact Murray directly by email at . With your help, you can help this charity make a difference and spread the word at one of Ireland’s most prestigious sailing events. 

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