Bangor Town Regatta’s Class 3 sports a first-time entrant in Murray McDonald from Port Edgar, who confesses he has never been to the town before. Murray’s debut is in a Hunter 707 which has been raced competitively in the growing one-design fleet in Scotland and achieved success in events such as the Scottish Series and West Highland Week. The name is catching – Autism on the Water.
It’s a Scottish registered charity which raises awareness of the Autistic spectrum through the sport of sailing. Murray, the charity’s founder, who is autistic, has been building up this fantastic initiative which has become recognised not just across Scotland and the UK but also as far as Hong Kong, Australia and Antigua. The charity’s main ambassador is David Witt who skippered Sun Hung Kai Scallywag in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race and he has been heavily involved in the charity’s success.
Autism on the Water provides opportunities for Autistic people of all ages to experience day sailing and more notably weekend outings on the tranquil Crinan Canal. The charity owns the Hunter 707. Murray skippers the boat with a crew who all have backgrounds involving autism; some are autistic themselves and others have relatives with Autism, all involved with the programme whilst wanting to create a better understanding of Autism through sailing.
Murray said “I have sailed for over 25 years and have never ever been to Bangor before! This year we are making a huge effort to race in this event hosted by Royal Ulster Yacht Club”. It also has had support from IRC Rating and RORC who have provided the boat with a generously discounted IRC Handicap Certificate.
The preferable way to get the boat to Bangor would be by ferry so the charity is looking to negotiate an achievable price. They are aware that it is costly but worth the exposure, and so Autism on the Water is hoping for sponsorship to help cover their logistical costs such as entry, ferry costs and transport. There would be substantial coverage on press and social media. More here