TWO Olympic sailors have a new role after London 2012 … boosting a Huddersfield company in the USA.
Florida brother and sister Paige and Zach Railey – who are both world-class sailors – were so impressed with FloodSax sandless sandbags they have now set up a company called High Water Flood Group in their home state to sell them.
The self-inflating FloodSax are the brainchild of Golcar-based entrepreneur Richard Bailey, managing director of Environmental Defence Systems – and they proved themselves in action during Hurricane Sandy in the USA at the end of last October.
Both 25-year-old Paige and Zach, 28, took part in the London 2012 Olympics with Paige finishing 8th and Zach 12th.
Paige said: “My father is a very well-known insurance agent in the USA. When I was competing at the Olympics he was talking to a British man about the product – actually during my finals race. My dad became very excited about FloodSax and it went on from there.
“Now both Zach and I are concentrating on selling FloodSax and then we’ll turn our attention to preparing for the Olympics in Rio, Brazil, in 2016.’’
Paige said both she and Zach were disappointed with their final placings in the 2012 Olympics.
“England was extremely pleasant but the only problem was it was freezing cold on the water,’’ she said.
“It’s certainly hard for Floridians to sail in the cold!’’
Paige sails in the Laser Radial class which was won in Weymouth by China’s Xu Lijia with Britain’s Alison Young in fifth place. Paige is a four times world sailing champion and is the first female and the youngest ever person to win the International Sailing Federation Rolex World Sailor of the Year award.
Zach races in the Finn class which was won by British sailor Ben Ainslie. Zach won Olympic Silver Medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Ben again winning gold.
Paige said: “We began sailing because the family dentist recommended that my mother take Zach to a learn to sail programme. It was literally so she could get a break and get rid of the kids for a bit.
“We both fell in love with sailing the minute we sailed our first boat. We both strive for excellence and know what it means to sacrifice and work hard. We both put our whole effort into something to be successful at it. We have now changed our focus from sailing to FloodSax.
“We are both very passionate about the product and have taken our work ethic that was implemented in us at a very young age and applied it to selling and marketing. We love the new challenge and once again are working as a team.’’
FloodSax look like large pillowcases and weigh just seven ounces before they are activated by soaking them in water. The gelling polymer inside them absorbs the water so in around three minutes they become even more effective than traditional sandbags, weighing 44lbs, and can be built up into walls to stop or divert floodwater or moulded into doorways or across air vents to keep water out. They are also deployed inside the home to soak up water from defrosting freezers, leaking pipes or faulty washing machines.
Richard Bailey said: “It’s amazing how the FloodSax have now gone global after proving themselves once again in the serious floods across the UK in recent months. We’re taking the names of Huddersfield and Yorkshire to the world.’’
A wall of FloodSax saved several homes from flooding when Hurricane Sandy wreaked devastation in the USA.
Around 50 properties were at risk of flooding when the Delaware River rose 2ft as the killer storm struck the New York area in late October.
Residents living very close to the river feared the water would flood basements in their homes that are only around 100ft from the river in the Old New Castle area not far from New Jersey.
So they turned to Jonathan Cochran who owns Cochran and Son plumbing and construction company in New Castle for help.
He saved eight worried homeowners by building walls of FloodSax sandless sandbags to keep the water out … and it worked for every resident with no water getting into their basements from the flood surge itself.
Jonathan said the highest wall constructed from around 80 FloodSax was just over 4ft high and 9ft wide which kept a staggering amount of water and debris at bay.
“If the water had got into the basement at these homes the damage caused in each one would have been in the region of $3,000 or $4,000,’’ he said. “These homes had suffered from flooding before and there was no way the people living there wanted to go through that again.’’
“One man did have regular sandbags in his garage, but he didn’t want to go through all the hassle of moving them outside again. He was very satisfied with how the FloodSax worked.’’