RYA Sailability is an incredible programme, largely run by volunteers, that gives disabled people, or those with specific requirements, the chance to regularly take part in activity on the water.
Sailing is open to everyone - regardless of age or ability – and the opportunities and ways to get involved are ever evolving. “Over the last year we have introduced a number of new initiatives to improve and enhance the RYA Sailability offer. We all know just how life changing Sailability can be and it’s really about supporting our network of sites and volunteers to keep moving the programme forward,” explains Joff McGill, RYA Sailability Manager.
It’s so much #MoreThanSailing
Sailability is about so much more than just boats, and the #MoreThanSailing campaign, launched in 2018, aims to better communicate the personal stories that sum it all up. It focusses on the benefits of sailing, with four key messages at the heart of the campaign: increasing physical activity, improving wellbeing, connecting with others and learning skills.
Alongside the national campaign, there are also a number of resources that have been made available to Sailability sites. A marketing toolkit enables them to produce content and reach, communicate and engage with more potential new sailors.
Joff commented: “#MoreThanSailing is about breaking down perceived barriers to getting people on the water and talking to those who might never have realised what the benefits of sailing are. It’s not about complicated marketing; it’s about keeping it simple and using the stories of real-life sailors to show the difference sailing can make.
“The resources we have provided can help sites access local media, produce social media content and engage with new organisations and groups. We’re excited about what we can achieve together through this campaign.”
Measuring impact with Sailactivity
Since its launch in April 2018, the Sailactivity platform has shown what really motivates people to sail and why. Developed in partnership with Sport England, the digital evaluation tool allows Sailability sites, sailors and volunteers to not only log activity but also how each session has made them feel.
When a participant signs up, they are asked to complete a baseline questionnaire that records the types of activity they do, how frequently they do it, how long for and how out of breath it makes them.
For the next three months, they log their Sailability activity - broken down into various categories including: leisure sailing, powerboating, competition and training – on a 10-point sliding scale for each of the four key outcomes: physical, social, wellbeing and learning.
They can then add their own comments and reflections on what it means to meet new people, feel part of a group, push themselves to their limits and learn new coping strategies. At the end of the three months, they complete the baseline questionnaire again to assess the impact Sailability has had.
Using feedback from the 20 Sailability sites involved in the pilot, RYA Sailability and Sport England have been able to assess ongoing impact as well as tracking emerging trends. The tool has now been made more widely available to all sites and sailors.
“Sailactivity is already showing us that Sailability is about more than simply sailing and that it is has a real impact on people’s lives. The results will help us to make sure there’s more Sailability in the future,” explains Joff.
A sea change for the Multiclass Regatta
For more than 10 years, the annual RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta has been inspirational for many sailors, encouraging them to move onwards in the sport and to achieve greater personal goals.
This year’s event will take place from 05-07 July, at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
Home of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the WPNSA, who will be hosting the event in partnership with Chesil Sailability, offers both world-class on-shore facilities, as well as some of the best sailing waters on the planet. Clean winds, sheltered waters and weak tides make Weymouth Harbour the perfect location for the ‘sea change’ from Rutland Water.
Alongside the usual fleet racing and Ken Ellis Pursuit Race, there will also be new opportunities for participants to try sailing, racing and ultimately to find out more about all that’s possible on-the-water.
New for 2019:
The inclusive event is open to all ages and abilities. With competitors expected to range from those who have competed at an international level, to beginners just getting started - no previous racing experience is required.
For more information about all the different activities on offer at this year’s RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta, the notice of race and to enter visit www.rya.org.uk/go/multiclass.
To find out more about RYA Sailability visit www.rya.org.uk/sailability.