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IFDS takes on the City Yacht Club Charity Regatta

28 Oct

The weekend of 17 September was a momentous occasion for a small group of IFDS team members who took to the seas to compete in the annual City Yacht Club Charity Regatta.

The two-day regatta was hosted in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, bringing together teams from across the country to compete in a series of sailing races to help raise money for charity. After drawing names out of a hat to determine who would represent IFDS at this action-packed event, we sent a team with varying levels of experience down to Cowes. Ryan Brennan, Product Owner at IFDS London, spoke to us about the adventurous event.

Team building experience

After having his name chosen as one of IFDS’ participants, Ryan joined his team in fundraising for the regatta’s chosen charities: Tusk and Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Having never sailed before and knowing little about the event previously, he was excited at the prospect of not only mingling with other IFDS team members (who were based at other offices) but also spending two days on the water.

After arriving in Cowes on Thursday night, a meet and greet and welcome from the Commodore on Friday morning, IFDS was ready to get under way. The team had a mixture of experience levels (with several having never set foot in a yacht before) and were eager to get started. After doing some training and getting their bearings around the boat, it was time to set sail - but the boat had other plans. With all the teams out on the water and setting sail, the IFDS main sail wouldn’t budge, resulting in one of the IFDS groups unable to participate in the day’s events. However, the next day was far more action-packed, with all team members experiencing the drama and adrenaline of sailing on the open water. Ryan was directed by the experienced captain and first mate, learning how to tack and navigate his way around the boat. The wet, windy and often challenging weather added to the sense of occasion, with adrenalin and the physical work of sailing helping the crews to stay warm.

While IFDS didn’t win their races, Ryan says they all absolutely loved the experience and would go back in a heartbeat.

“For me, racing was interesting but I didn’t really expect to be at the front winning. There’s a lot of adrenalin when you’re doing the turns - it’s really fast. When you’re at full tilt going straight with the wind behind you, you’re up on the side of the boat to keep the weight on one side and it’s really exciting,” he says.

The event culminated in a formal charity dinner event at the Royal Yacht Squadron, topping off a fantastic weekend full of excitement and fundraising efforts.

Ryan’s journey at IFDS

Ryan first joined IFDS as a summer intern in 2012, building automated test scripts for a new product and creating a prototype iOS app for D2C investing. After graduating and travelling, he returned to IFDS in 2014 to work in the Digital team, taking up the IFDS graduate scheme as well as a role in client implementations on the Investor Portal. This dual role saw Ryan undertake training on top of his everyday duties, training in things like database design, agile methodologies and Javascript. By the end of 2015, he moved to a Product Owner position in London. He’s now finished the graduate scheme and is thriving in his new role. 

About the City Yacht Club Charity Regatta

The regatta has a history spanning more than 30 years, kicking off in 1983. It has recently been redesigned as an event to develop Investment2020 Trainees and to raise money for and awareness of designated charities. The regatta combines sailing with team building, networking and healthy competition, along with the ever-important element of charity fundraising.
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