Five members of a disabled sailing group had the extra delight of being presented to the Princess Royal during the naming of their new boat.
Rutland Sailability members visited the London Boat Show earlier this month to pick up their new Drascombe longboat, named Penny Wake.
During the show Princess Anne officially named the boat.
The Princess Royal met and spoke to Rutland Sailability chairman Martin Sutcliffe, deputy chairman Ros Mulholland-Gullick, Rutland Young Sportsperson of the Year 2013 Matt Smettem and one of Rutland Sailability’s successful racing sailors Chris Emmett.
Princess Anne also spoke to Rutland Sailability’s patron, Penny Wake, who the new boat was named after. Funding for the vessel came from the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust, which Penny set up.
Deputy chairman Ros said: “The first thrill for each of us was the sight of this new boat with its impressive wood trim. This was a beautiful example of craftsmanship at its best.
“Along with the builder of this fine boat and his number one man, the Rutland Sailability contingent duly lined up to await the arrival of our royal visitor, and the revelation of the name on this boat.
“We were each presented to the Princess Royal, who chatted with each individual at some length, and even recalled her visit in 2003 to Rutland Sailability.
“Her Royal Highness’s knowledge of this type of boat was impressive and she questioned Martin closely as to his affinity with it after enjoying sailing on more exciting craft over many years.
“Martin left Princess Anne in no doubt of his commitment to the longboat and his delight in the advantages it provided for people with special needs, as well as his pride in being a part of the team which crewed these wonderfully appreciative people when they were able to visit us on Rutland Water.”
Princess Anne’s husband, Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence, also spoke to the group.
The charity’s new vessel, which replaces a 30-year-old boat, had been kitted out with additional features to safely accommodate people with disabilities, including wheelchair access and a hard seat for injured sailors who need spinal support.
The Rutland Sailability team was joined by partners, family and members of Peterborough Sailability for the show in London.
The charity, which operates from its site at Edith Weston, Rutland Water, offers sailing opportunities for 227 disabled and able-bodied members.
In 2010, the club received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of its work with volunteers.