8th March 2018 - Alex Barnes

Hannah Snellgrove studies the weather conditions from the balcony at Lymington Town Sailing Club

Hannah Snellgrove's crowd funding for her new Laser Radial is going from strength to strength this week as the deadline approaches. 

Lymington-based Hannah has recently restarted her international sailing career in an effort to hopefully one day reach the Olympics and her recent crowd funding campaign has left her feeling humbled at the immense support she has received from her local community. 

New sponsors Phoenix Marine have pledged to donate an additional £1,000 should Hannah reach her 6K target by Sunday evening, something she is within touching distance of achieving. 

With only four days to go, the local community has already donated £4,975 so far, leaving her just shy of her target. To donate, please visit her Crowdfunder page by clicking here

The 27-year-old is excited to be back on the international and potential Olympic trail with new funding in place, brand new kit courtesy of Rooster and an excellent new support team lead by John Bertrand.

"I set up the crowdfunding site about two and a half weeks ago and the aim was to be able to buy a new boat and spare equipment for the 2018 season." Hannah explained. "The target was £6,000, which is a lot of money! It's going much better than I could have hoped for. We are just under £5,000 and we have four days left to run."

"Phoenix Marine, who are coming onboard as a sponsor which is another exciting prospect, have agreed that if we reach the target by Sunday night then they will donate a further £1,000 which I would be able to put towards the European regattas in the Spring."

"I can't believe it really. I have been so humbled by everyone's support." Hannah admitted. "It's come from all walks of my life including some people that I don't know. It's come from the sailing clubs, Lymington Town, the Royal (Lymington Yacht Club), people I coach and even people from the folk music scene." 

"It's going to be the people's boat, I cannot wait to buy her" she continued, although she did add that there was already a different name lined up for the new Laser when it arrives. 

Hannah does already have a couple of boats and various equipment but her current Laser, which was out thrashing around the solent earlier this afternoon, is starting to suffer from a few stresscracks and is unlikely to fully survive another long trip into Europe. 

"The newest one that I own is over three years old and has done a lot of sailing and she has just started to stress crack along the hull so I don't think she will survive another long trailer ride out to Europe and back."

Hannah comes back in from training in her current Laser Radial

"Buying a boat is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the costs of the year but it is an initial big bit of capital that you have to put in. There is a huge amount of investment that is going into getting to regattas, coaching expenses and logistics. So, if you are going invest all of that time and energy into regattas you have got to be in kit that is going to be competitive. That is why it is so important."

Snellgrove and her team are still actively looking for additional sponsors. There are different levels of sponsorship that individuals or businesses can get including special events for bigger sponsors down to social media plugs, branding on boats, branding on sails, exposure at big international events. 

"World Sailing are really doing a good job at covering all the major events" Hannah mentioned when discussing sponsorship.

"We have the world championships coming up in Denmark in August which are well covered so there will be plenty of exposure." 

This is something South Coast Journalism can happily vouch for as we often provide coverage of international racing for the crews or individuals on the south coast of the UK, including Snellgrove on a regular basis, so we know there are always plenty of photos and videos going out to the international, national and regional media groups. 

In regards to training, Hannah felt that her fitness was currently the best it had been but the three time British Laser Radial champion continues to put the work in both on land and on the water, all whilst coaching and working for the New Milton Advertiser & Lymington Times

"I was in Miami at the start of the year, did a great training camp with the US team and some training partners. I also did a training regatta and then the world cup so I have spent a lot of time on the water."

"It's been more difficult since I got back because I am still working part-time so that is quite difficult to juggle. I do three days a week writing for the local paper, as well as coaching, so there are only limited days in which I can get out and February has not been kind either with the weather."

"On land, everything has been going well. I haven't been able to get out on the water as much as I would have liked. I knew when I came back from Miami that there would be a lot of things to put together logistically to get the campaign going so I kind of accepted that really."

"I am really looking forward to going out to Palma in just over a week and then the time on the water will really kick in. I can't wait!"

Hannah is targeting the world championships, the pinnacle of the year for not just the Laser Radial sailors but all of the Olympic classes as well. "It's a major thing because that's where countries first qualify their country spots for the Olympic Games so that is certainly very important." 

"Palma and the European Championships are important to make sure I get a spot at the Worlds but also the Europeans are particularly important because you can get a funding result there. I wouldn't say that is the goal going into it because everything is really leading up to the Worlds this year."

The World Championships take place every four years and in 2018 they are scheduled to take place in Aarhus, Denmark, between the 30th of July and 18th August.

Hannah agreed that she is pretty excited to be back on the campaign trail. "I'm approaching it in a different way. I'm a different person to who I was a couple of years ago. Sailing is my passion and it still means a huge amount to me but I would say that I'm now a more rounded person and I have a lot that makes me happy outside sailing and that is a nice balanced way to go into it."

"The drive has never gone. It's really exciting. I have a great team around me who are doing everything they can to try and make this work. It's become a bit of a now or never thing where I have just got to use the people who are prepared to put in all this time and effort because they believe in me."

"I could feel trepidation because you think maybe I won't be able to get the finance together or we won't make it work but this is an opportunity to try and that is the exciting part." 

South Coast Journalism will have updates on Hannah's progress throughout the year but you can also visit her website, follow her on Twitter, like her page on Facebook or (until Sunday at least) visit and donate towards her cause on Crowdfunding

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