Skandia has announced the squad at this year's Cowes Week 14/7/06

Skandia has announced the five teams competing as the 2006 Skandia Squad at this year’s Skandia Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight (29 July – 5 August).

This year’s teams come from as far north as Dundee and as far south as Torquay in Devon. They will race against each other in the Sonar class, under the supervision of the United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA).

Each team will sail under one of Skandia’s values: Commitment; Contribution; Courage; Passion and Creativity. They were selected following a nationwide competition to find people who would like to race at Skandia Cowes Week but either do not have the resources, experience or skills to do so.

“This year’s Squad promises to be the most competitive yet with a real mixture of ages and abilities taking to the water,” says Tim Sewell, Skandia’s sponsorship manager. “Of the 18 Squad members, 10 are female which is particularly fitting with the Event launching its first Ladies Day on 3 August, to celebrate the increasing popularity of sailing among women.”

Each Skandia Squad crew comprises between four and five people – three to four are competition winners plus there is one qualified instructor from the UKSA on board.

The teams

SKANDIA CONTRIBUTIONThe ‘Cinderellas’ of sailing

Four young women from the north will be ‘in at the deep end’ on board Skandia Contribution. For some of the team this will not be their first taste of the event but it will be the first time that they are part of the sailing action. Two have worked as promotional staff at the event for three years, handing out free drinks to competitors. These Cinderellas longed to be able to join the racers but they never dreamed they would ever get the opportunity.

SKANDIA PASSIONThree generations of women who have helped save the day for young would-be sailors

A grandmother, a mountaineering HGV driver and a student are the three women who will compete as Skandia Passion. As well as climbing mountains and driving lorries, one of the team participated in a campaign to save the Norfolk Schools Sailing Association base and all three regularly volunteer to help youngsters get out on the water.

SKANDIA CREATIVITYFour nationalities with one goal – to help young people sail

An Englishman, a Scotsman, a Frenchman and a young woman from Belgium are the Skandia Creativity team. Sailing vintage, wood, gaff-rigged yachts on the Norfolk Broads, they regularly get together to help teach young people from the UK and abroad how to sail. None of the team has raced before and they are determined to learn new skills which they can pass on to their students back on the Broads.

SKANDIA COURAGEA Sailability team with ambitions to win

The will to win is driving this team of four individuals who will come together thanks to an RYA Sailability Racing Development Coach. With ambitions to sail for Britain in the Paralympics, the Skandia Courage team is likely to give the rest of the Squad teams a real run for their money.

SKANDIA COMMITMENTThree of life’s ‘givers’ find themselves taking the plunge

The three members of Skandia Commitment have never even met each other let alone sailed together before the start of Skandia Cowes Week.

Selected by the BBC’s leading news programme in the south, ‘South Today’, each one has made a huge difference to their local communities or to charities. All of them have demonstrated true grit and determination when tackling the many challenges they have faced as individuals. Working as a team, these three should be a real force to be reckoned with!

All the Squad teams will be provided with the use of boats, accommodation and expert instruction by the UKSA. They will also receive Henri Lloyd clothing, Wightlink travel to and from the Isle of Wight, Mumm Champagne and access to the Skandia marquee throughout the week.