A training event for men and women of the Armed Forces who suffered life changing injuries or illnesses as a result of the service and world class disabled sailors was hosted at Chesil Sailability, based at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), on 8/9 June.
The event was to prepare the 16 sailors currently vying to compete for Team UK at the Invictus Games 2018 in Sydney, in October and the Hansa Class sailors heading for the World Championships in Hiroshima in October. Additional support and funding was provided by RYA Sailability and Help for Heroes, who are responsible for the training of the 72-strong Team UK Invictus Games athletes.
In sunshine and fair winds, all the sailors were put through their paces, pushing their limits on the water, and sharing fun times off it. Exhilarating and giving a freedom not experienced elsewhere, the weekend delivered for all those involved.
David Griffith, Chair of Chesil Sailability, was delighted that the group’s volunteers were involved: “Chesil Sailability was very pleased to again be working with the RYA, Hansa Class Association, Help for Heroes and WPNSA to provide this training opportunity. A legacy of London 2012 is the accessible sailing provision at WPNSA, and while our usual focus is providing accessible sailing for people in Dorset, using their world-class facilities and sailing waters also allows us to host events such as this.”
Joff McGill, RYA Sailability Manager added: "A host of volunteers has made it all possible and we are very grateful to the time and energy they commit to the sport, getting people on the water to enjoy the thrill and the freedom that comes with it. It is a pleasure to collaborate with them all."
The Hansa is an easy boat for disabled people to start sailing, but it is hard to sail well. Nevertheless, the standard of Hansa sailing in the UK continues to improve as a result of the quality training and competition at events like this and the aim is to build the successes in this class at last year’s European Championships and achieve more podium places.
Chesil Sailability’s base at WPNSA also provides its more competitive members with access to advanced coaching and its volunteers the chance to develop their skills working with other accessible sailing experts. The group encourages anyone with an interest in taking up sailing to join.
Find out more about sailing or volunteering with Chesil Sailability
Discover more about sailing with a disability through Sailability