Veterans from across the borough caused a ripple when they displayed their sailing skills on the national stage.
A trip to the famous Weymouth Regatta was the culmination of our successful Sail After Service programme.
The aim of the scheme was to boost mental wellbeing and provide a social outlet for local members of the Armed Forces’ community.
Veterans were taught key sailing and navigational skills under expert tuition over an 8 week period at Hollingworth Lake, in partnership with Link4Life, the Royal Yacht Association and Moving Forces.
Such was its success, a group of veterans was invited to display their maritime prowess in the multi-class tournament during Regatta weekend on the Dorset coast.
And the stand out performance by the veterans was a creditable 8th-placed finish in the pursuit competition, with fine efforts in other disciplines including the dramatic keel boat race.
"The Sail After Service scheme has been a success story from day one"
Councillor Janet Emsley, our cabinet member for the Armed Forces, said: “The Sail After Service scheme has been a success story from day one, helping isolation by bringing veterans together to socialise, learn new skills and enjoy life on the water.
"It was great to see so many veterans making waves at the Weymouth Regatta in front of hundreds of spectators. I am proud of the veterans’ achievements and I would like to thank everyone who delivered such a pioneering project. I look forward to it returning in 2020.”
Caen Matthews, a veteran who starred in the Regatta event, said: “It was a fantastic weekend and we were honoured to be representing the borough of Rochdale at such a prestigious sporting occasion. There were plenty of thrills and spills out on the water, but we performed with credit and enjoyed every minute. The aim of the Sail After Service scheme was to bring veterans together with a shared purpose and, judging by the feedback we have had, it has been a resounding success.”