Sailability is the RYA’s national programme enabling people with disabilities to try sailing and take part regularly. It’s the perfect sport to feel tranquillity and freedom on the water, or progress skills and become competitive. The Awards recognise RYA Sailability ambassadors, rewarding dedication, commitment and achievement.

Tideway Sailability , based at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, together with Leonard Cheshire is a finalist for the Collaboration of the Year Award. This goes to a group or organisation working with a Sailability club or centre that has benefitted all those involved and produced outcomes that could not have been achieved without the collaboration.

Tideway Sailability and the Leonard Cheshire Can Do Program teamed up to help a group of young adults gain important life skills, teaching them both sailing and volunteering skills. Working with a team of volunteers from Tideway Sailability over a period of 10 weeks the young people grew in self­ confidence, learned to work as a team, and improved their ability to make relationships.

Stuart Lund from Tideway says: “Being a finalist for this award is an acknowledgment of the many days of dedication our volunteers put into this and our other programs. We are excited to have been nominated.”

Photo - sailing at Tideway Sailability

Lindsay Burns of Frensham Pond Sailability and Will Street from Eastbourne are two of three sailors nominated for Sailor of the Year, awarded to someone who has achieved considerable success or made significant progress on the water in 2018.

Lindsay had an exceptional 2018 out on the water with significant wins at local, national and international levels in the Hansa 2.3 class. Despite serious ill health during the year she was able to win the Hansa 2.3 TT series, the Hansa 2.3 National Championships and was a significant contributor to the Ben Ainslie Trophy which Frensham Pond Sailability won for the 12th year in succession. Lindsay’s year culminated in her winning the silver medal for the 2.3 class at the Hansa World Championships in Hiroshima, Japan in October 2018.

Lindsay says: "Being a finalist for an RYA Sailability award came as a big surprise and I feel very honoured to have been nominated. 2018 was a challenging year for me medically, so to come back from the Hansa World Championships with a silver medal is the highlight of my sailing life. I will remember it always, and for the achievement to be recognised by my RYA nomination really enhances it.”

Photo - Lindsay in action at the Hansa World Championships

Will, along with crew Jonny Currell, took gold in the RS Venture fleet at the Para World Sailing Championships in the USA.

At the age of twelve, having been a successful able bodied youth sailor with Pevensey Bay Sailing Club, Will was diagnosed with Freidriechs Ataxia, a degenerative genetic disorder which affects nerves and muscle control.

Will says: “There is no cure (at the moment) and so I have had to cope with the changes that have taken place over the years. The one thing that has not changed is my love of the water and the desire to win and be the best sailor in the world.”

Photo - Will and Jonny at the Para World Championship

Winners of the awards will be announced at the Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the RYA Sailability National Conference at Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre on 16 February 2019.

RYA Sailability Manager Joff McGill commented: “Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to nominate an entry for the RYA Sailability Awards. We have been overwhelmed by the good work, new initiatives and outstanding achievements that have taken place in 2018. The RYA Sailability programme couldn’t exist without the hard work and dedication of our supporters and it’s an honour to recognise some of the individuals and organisations that make it happen.

“Congratulations to all those that have been shortlisted and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Awards Ceremony and Dinner.”