FORMER Paralympic sailing star Hannah Stodel has announced that she will be taking on one of the toughest domestic yacht racing events later this month.

The former Weymouth resident, will hit the start line of the RORC Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, an 1,805-mile challenge which starts and finishes in the Solent off Cowes.

For Stodel, who still trains at the Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy, this marks the next step of her ‘single-handed single-handed’ Vendee Globe campaign, but the three-time world champion will be taking on this challenge as part of a four-person crew alongside team- mates Tim Atkins, Will Rogers and Quentin Bes-Green.

Born missing her right lower arm, Stodel went on to become four-time Paralympian in the Sonar class, but since sailing was dropped from the Paralympics after the Rio 2016 Games she has set her sights on becoming the first disabled athlete to attempt the toughest solo race in the sport, the Vendee Globe which starts in 2020.

It’s been a tough campaign so far for the athlete who needs to raise millions to fund her circumnavigation but she is showing her characteristic determination to succeed.

In order to get her to the start line of the Round Britain and Ireland Race, which starts the day after Cowes Week, she has been out seeking sponsors to fund the charter of a Class 40 yacht and to pay the costs

associated with the race, much of which she has achieved thanks to the help of Learning Skills and Solutions, law firm CMS, Marlow Ropes, Helly Hansen, Fuse and Tent Meals.

With crowdfunding she hopes to make up the shortfall.

She said: “I’m delighted to be taking part in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

“Round Britain and Ireland is three times longer than the Fastnet Race so it’s going to be tough, but it is a perfect training opportunity for me and I’m lucky to be sailing with a great crew. It’s an event that attracts some really serious racers so it’s the perfect test for me at this stage of my campaign and gives me lots of time to get used to sailing the Class 40.”

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