Sailability@Whitefriars, the disabled sailing arm of the Whitefriars Sailing Club, has launched two new boats in readiness for another great season of disabled sailing. 

The Hansa 303 was purchased with local donations from the Cirencester Round Table, while other grants received from the Barnwood Trust, Gloucester County Council, Awards for All, and an anonymous donation purchased the RS Venture. Both boats have adaptive equipment to enable people with more severe physical disabilities to sail independently.

Last season the group welcomed several new individual members, as well as new groups such as Aphasia Now, a charity supporting people living with the affects of a stroke, and Forget-me-Not who support people with dementia. An influx of new volunteers from within the club, from other clubs within the Cotswolds, and helpers from the local community, has helped the group to to provide sailing for more people with disabilities. Chairman David Durston said: “We are incredibly grateful for their support, and we hope to attract more this season to help with rigging boats, safety cover, administration, instructing, and as sailing buddies.”

Sailability@Whitefriars has been implementing the RYA Achievement Award scheme, as well as the traditional sailing certificates. This has delivered some fantastic results, enabling people to be more involved and fulfilled through sailing; with some going on to sail independently, and even taking friends and relatives out for the first time. Whitefriars is an inclusive club, and disabled sailing is integrated. Sailors with a level of competence are encouraged to join the main club, and take part in racing, regattas, and social events. This year it is planning to provide support on some Saturdays, so that people with disabilities who cannot attend regular Wednesday sessions can have an opportunity to sail at the weekend.

The season started in March with training for volunteers; sailing starts on 5 April. “We would be delighted to welcome new members and volunteers. Please get in touch if you feel you are the person to help disabled people achieve something from sailing,” David added.

For more details on disabled sailing please contact David Durston, sailability@whitefriarssc.org, or visit www.whitefriarssc.org