The first Eddystone Charity Sailing Pursuit was intended as a fun day’s sailing for cruising yachts as part of the 175th Anniversary celebrations of the Royal Western Yacht Club, Plymouth. The private charitable trust, that still supports the event, made £5,000 of prize money available for charities and the yachts gathered £4,000 of sponsorship. The owners/skippers and crews were so delighted by the results that a similar event was requested the following year and thus the EddystonePursuit was born and has been sailed annually ever since.
Over the years the size of the participating fleet has increased and the amount of prize money provided by the Sponsor has more than tripled. The Pursuit each year now generates a very substantial amount of money for charities. From the outset the Sponsor required that the charities supported must ‘benefit the human condition’ to comply with their own Trust Deed and this has remained a guiding principle for the charities selected for support.
Originally the event had a ‘racing’ start but this so alarmed the skippers who were mostly totally un-used to finding themselves in a jostling mass of boats, that for everyone’s peace of mind the Pursuit formula was adopted and has remained ever since. Handicapped by the Sailing Officer, boats set off in small groups every five minutes. The event is sailed under the International Colregs. (no racing rules here) so there is ‘no shouting for water’! It is all designed for sailors who never race, but enjoy a days sailing with a great outcome – It is now the third largest charity fund raising event in South-West England - Welcome to the Eddystone Pursuit.