Foil for Life Challenge By Lemer Pax: the money pot is still on for Paris hospitals and UK’s NHS to help fight Covid-19
As part of its support for health workers, providing their services with hand sanitiser, Lemer Pax has taken part in the first English Channel crossing (Lymington to Le Havre) in Waszp – the Foil for Life Challenge – dinghies alongside six Anglo-French crews keen to support medical teams devoted to the health crisis.
The six Waszp dinghies – strange gliding, foil-equipped boats – set sail from the English coast in Lymington on Friday 14 August for the Foil for Life Challenge By Lemer Pax, heading to Le Havre 108 nautical miles away. Pierre Leboucher, Mael Garnier and Corentin Horeau represented Team France, while Hattie Rogers, Edward Higson and William Heathcote represented Team UK. All were committed to raising funds for the UK’s NHS (National Health Service) and public hospitals in the Paris region of France.
A wait for good weather … then the pandemic struck!
On the quays, there was a long wait! There were uncertain weather conditions, with the start date pushed back several times. Then, all of a sudden, an announcement from the UK government settled the debate. Quarantine would be introduced for people entering the UK from 4am on Saturday 15 August. The organisers quickly declared the race open, despite the unsettled weather. They accepted the risk, but this time it didn’t pay off. One by one, the sailors ended up in a windless zone, prematurely bringing this first Anglo-French event of its kind to an end. They were towed to Cherbourg, the nearest port.
Yet everything had begun so well. Still, the British touch inherent to such competitions, came: the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and John Burnie, the founder of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Caribbean 600, were enthusiastic about the event. At 7.45am, the fleet headed towards the Needles, the stacks of chalk at the Isle of Wight’s western tip, where the sailors were duly greeted by a Royal Navy destroyer. Around 15 boats accompanied the Waszp dinghies to over ten nautical miles from the Isle of Wight coast.
“Thanks to Lemer Pax, there’ll be a follow-up. Team France has invited us to its national regatta (…). And in turn, we’ve invited them to take part in our national event too.”Hattie Rogers, founder of the Foil for Life Challenge
Heading from the Needles out into the Channel will remain an unforgettable moment for all the participants, who left behind them, port side, the famous lighthouse that sees the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet pass by every two years and 1,000 boats sail by in the annual Round the Island race around the Isle of Wight. James Tomlinson made the most of it to take some great photographs.
What Hattie Rogers, who founded the challenge, liked about this edition was the great camaraderie and bonds that made an impression on all the crews. “Thanks to Lemer Pax, there’ll be a follow-up. Team France has invited us to its national regatta in Loctudy in mid-November. And in turn, we’ve invited them to take part in our national event in October too.”
Lemer Pax: a summer spent helping Paris public hospitals and the UK’s NHS
Lemer Pax helped support the logistics behind the challenge and raise already more than £5,000 via the website https://www.foilforlife.com for the NHS and public hospitals in the Paris region. The dedicated money pot is still on. The firm’s strong support underlines the values of sharing, solidarity and determination cherished by Lemer Pax, the nautical world and hospitals badly impacted by Covid-19. That is why this initiative won Lemer Pax’s heart. The company’s slogan – “Protecting Life” – alone captures the aim of this crossing.