Sailing Access For All

Young sailor shortlisted in international journalism competition for article on Sailing Access for All.
05 Oct 23

Topper sailor, Emilia Ewer from Prestwick Sailing Club was recently shortlisted in the Sports Journalist of the Year category of the Global Young Journalists Awards with a wee article about the magic of sailing.

Images of sailor Emilia Ewer

It seems appropriate to share on Scottish Womens and Girls in Sport week as Emilia highlights some of the many physical, mental, and social benefits that being active in our sport can bring.

Have a read of Emilia’s article below. We love her call to action!

Sailing Access for All

Emilia Ewer

Last summer, I attended Prestwick Sailing Club’s (PSC) summer school. Sailing makes me feel free and I LOVE it! With the sun in my face (sometimes, it is Scotland!), the wind in my sail (sometimes more than wanted) and the sense of freedom that it gives me helps me to be more confident about things on land. My sailing journey began when PSC ran a Women on Water course in 2021. The aim of this course was to support and increase the number of women participating in sailing. Six females who did that course are now sailing competitively around Scotland.

Sailing uses lots of physical and brain power. Needing the balance of a gymnast, the agility of a rock climber and swimming might be useful too. Sailing works your brain as well. Beginning even before you get onto the water, you need to know what your environment is like so you can get the best out of it as well as ensuring that your equipment is working and race ready. Sailing is a mixture of five things. Physics, maths, geography, environmental science and physical activity, all wrapped up into one awesome sport! Sailing is also good for your mental wellbeing. Being outside with friends is what I have enjoyed the most (even when it is dark, grey and raining with the occasional chipping ice off the covers). We are all in it together.

Sailing is a sport that can be accessed by all! No matter what gender, age, ability, colour or background you are or have come from. Everyone is there for the same reason: the love of being on the water. As an 11 year old girl, I sail every week with all the adults at my club and last week I even won a race! Being small in light winds is a real advantage!

The Sailability Program is where people with disabilities or who can’t access sailing the same way I can, can go and learn how to sail. Helping their mental health by increasing their access to the outdoors, developing teamwork, friendships and encouraging them to learn with their peers, every disability can be catered for. “We had a couple of young boys who came here as part of the Sailability Program and developed a really good friendship. One of the boys actually came here and started at level one, like you, and worked his way up to sail at the Paralympics in Italy! Says Laura Cowan, Commodore at PSC and RYA Regional Development Officer for West of Scotland. Part of the Sailability Program, Laura and RYA Scotland are wanting to make sure that sailing can be accessible to everyone who wants to sail. They are also working to ensure that the future of individual sailing clubs in Scotland are secure, both financially and physically.

There have been many initiatives trying to make sailing as inclusive as possible. The Eric Twiname Trust, Ellen MacArthur Trust and individual courses like ‘Women On Water’. These are all opening sailing to everyone. Later this month there is an Eric Twiname Championship race that I am competing in.

In conclusion, there are many ways that you can access sailing and it is a sport for everyone to enjoy. I hope this has inspired you to start sailing!

Images of sailor Emilia Ewer