Whilst the focus of the S&CA is to be the UK's home recreational LGBT+ boating, several of our members have a strong competitive streak and have had numerous successes over the years. In the early years of the Club, the 'Etruscan Gold Bowl' (a brass coal scuttle) was awarded to the winner of a Club race from Southampton to Cowes which involved at least one participant grounding on Bramble Bank! Since then many of our members have participated in the Round the Island Race around the Isle of Wight, and S&CA Members have been regular crew members aboard Night Owl, a regular participant in the Fastnet Race.
In 2001 the Gay UK Sailing Team (GUST) was formed, closely associated with the S&CA. GUST went on to send teams to compete at Gay Games and Euro Gay Cup throughout the decade. In 2005 a Rear Commodore Racing position was created within S&CA's Committee, with the GUST organisation folding into S&CA around 2009 as S&CA was supporting racing seriously and there was no need for a separate organisation. Still racing under the GUST banner, teams scooped silver in both the 2010 and 2018 Games.
The Gay Games have been held every four years since 1982, aiming to bring together people from all walks of life, without discrimination, around the values of diversity, respect, equality, solidarity and sharing. Sailing was first included in the Sydney Gay Games in 2002 and S&CA members were keen to take part...
Sydney 2002: In early in 2002, with support from S&CA, GUST teams embarked on a heavy training program in 23' Hunter 707 sports yachts under the guidance and coaching of Cathy Foster, the first woman helm in the Olympics and IYRU Champion, for the 2002 Gay Games in Sydney in which they entered four teams:
The team Gusty Springfield was eliminated in the 2nd heat and two teams Gust Do It and Gust Superheroes made it into the finals. Gust Do it were pipped at the post on the last race for the bronze medal - they needed to finish 2 places ahead of Gust Superheroes to win the bronze, but in the end were only one place ahead, and it was a photo finish! Gust Superheroes got the bronze medal and GUST won the overall team silver medal.
Chicago 2006: A couple of GUST teams went to Chicago in 2006
Cologne 2010: S&CA members were part of at least 8 of the teams competing in the Gay Games in Cologne in 2010 due to some teams having various mixed nationalities, where Team Gusty Springfield won the silver medal and an S&CA member won the bronze. The September 2010 NewsBuoy has the full story with pictures and is available in the Members Area.
Cleveland 2014: We had hoped to send at least one team to the Gay Games in Cleveland in August 2014 but logistics and funding meant this was not feasible.
France 2018: Sailors from the S&CA formed part of the GUST teams representing the UK at the Paris 2018 Gay Games held in August 2018, winning a silver medal in the keelboat racing. The sailing took place at Le Havre. The 15-strong UK delegation comprised three teams of men and women racing J80 yachts.
Our teams were among over 10,000 participants from 91 different nations playing 36 sports; twenty of those nations still outlaw homosexuality. David, the S&CA's Rear Commodore Racing, said: “This is my first time competing at the Gay Games and it is a wonderful experience to represent the UK at this international event. With so few out LGBT+ sports people, it’s important to show young LGBT+ people that sport and sailing are accessible to them.” Reg, in the silver medal crew, said: “It was a great event and winning silver was unbelievable! I would encourage anyone who wants to get involved in this inclusive and competitive sailing event to contact us.”
The 11th Gay Games in 2022 are scheduled to be held in Hong Kong.
The 2002 Euro Gay Cup was won by GUST team Gust Do It which meant the UK would host the following year's competition; therefore, in 2003 this was held at Cowes under the burgee of the Island Sailing Club. The 2006 Euro Gay Cup was held in Paris and won by a joint French / British team which included a GUST member and so in 2007 the event was held in UK at Brighton under S&CA with SailnetUK and sponsorship from Barclays.
Gusty Springfield won the Cup and S&CA hosted the 2008 event again at Brighton also with help from SailnetUK and Barclays. UK won yet again with another S&CA team but participants felt it was time the event went somewhere else and in 2009 it was held at Vinkeveen in the Netherlands. The last EU Gay Cup was raced for in 2011 and won by Holland.
Ed Hall's fantastic Prima 38 in black "Night Owl", crossing the Atlantic in the ARC 2006, winner of the JOG Offshore Series in 2009, Second in the JOG Inshore Series in 2010, 10th in Class Fastnet 2011 and winning a number of races during the seasons including Line Honours in the St. Peter Port race to Guernsey, generated a strong team of S&CA racing boys and girls and was sorely missed when the boat was sold in 2011.