With just a month to go until the start of The Transat bakerly, OC Sport has announced The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust as the official UK race charity.

The trust was set up by Dame Ellen MacArthur in 2003. It is now a nationwide organisation that gives young people, who are in recovery from cancer, the opportunity to experience sailing.

Commenting on the Trust’s partnership with the race, MacArthur said,“We are absolutely delighted to be announced as the official UK race charity. The Transat forms a key chapter of my history and will provide an excellent platform to raise the profile of the Trust.”

In 2000, MacArthur became the youngest ever winner of the Transat in the monohull division, on board her Open 60 Kingfisher. She was just 23 years old.
The world’s oldest professional solo race from Plymouth to New York will start this year on 2 May.

The Event Director of The Transat bakerly, Hervé Favre, welcomed MacArthur and her team back to the race.

“Ellen has been an inspirational example to many young people and it is great for us to have her Trust, that does such great work, involved in a race that she made her own all those years ago,” he said.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust currently works with every principal treatment centre, as well as a growing number of designated units across the UK.

The Trust invites children on sailing trips, on either the English south coast or in Scotland, and then offers them further opportunities to sail up to the age of 18.

Felix Allen from Plymouth, was diagnosed with Wilms Tumour in 2010 and has been sailing with the Trust during his recovery since 2013. His mother, Sue, commented: “It’s crucial that the Trust is supported in ways such as this, because it shows to children like Felix that some challenges you can choose to take on and win.

“It’s hard to think of enough words to describe how much we appreciate all that the Trust has done for us. It has given Felix back his confidence, not only in himself but also for life,” she added.

The 2016 edition of The Transat bakerly will see 25 solo skippers in four classes – Ultimes, IMOCA 60s, Multi50s and Class40s – take on one of the great challenges in professional sailing. They face a 3,000-mile course complete with storm force headwinds, rough seas and freezing fog.
When Sir Francis Chichester won the inaugural edition of the race in 1960, it took him 40 days to reach New York. This year, the fastest boats could be there in as little as seven days.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust will be in the official Race Village at Plymouth between 29 April 29 – 2 May.

Kay Cottee

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