Aspire to Sail at Girton Sailability

Young adults from Aspire Day Services have been learning to sail thanks to weekly sessions at Girton Sailing Club, a 100-acre site in North Nottinghamshire

mid shot of a sailor/sailors on a lake

The sessions, which have been running since early May, have allowed disadvantaged adults to get out on the water and learn various sailing, watercraft and lifesaving skills.

Aspire Day Services is a daycare provider for adults with learning disabilities and autism in Lincoln. The young adults were welcomed to Girton Sailing Club by a large volunteer group of experienced sailing club members, including RYA qualified training instructors and safety boat crews

The partnership programme built upon a successful 2021season in which 50% of this season’s participants completed their bronze certificate and returned with the hope of achieving their silver certificate. The remaining attendees were embarking on their sailing journey. 

mid shot of a sailor/sailors on a lake

Participants confidence improved as they progressed through the RYA training module

Many participants were nervous, having never sailed before. Still, as the weeks went by, their confidence improved as they progressed through the RYA’s Sailability training module and completed all the basic tasks required for certification.

“We have had great support from the RYA regional and national Sailability team who offered excellent training from which we learnt a tremendous amount on safe practices, leadership as well as practical skills updates. The RYA Sailability logbooks have been brilliant, and all participants have been able to record their achievements weekly, which motivated them to keep working on more targets. Undoubtedly, the support provided by the RYA Sailability team has added value to Girton Sailing Club as a whole.”

Chris Bull Girton Sailability Officer

mid shot of a sailor/sailors on a lake

For three months, the participants experienced sailing in various weather conditions

When the weather was too windy for safety reasons, the group tackled canoe padding and learned how to use a throwline for rescuing someone in difficulty, a vital lifesaving skill.

Attendees also learnt about the effect of thermal shock and how to deal with it if finding themselves suddenly in cold water. Some of the more adventurous group members also tried righting a capsized boat and recovering crew members from the water.

“Sailing at Girton is our clients ‘highlight of the week’, and they can’t wait for the next session so they can continue their development in sailing.” Commented an Aspire Spokesperson.

The Girton Team will be looking at what they can do next year to help them to achieve their goals; Chris Bull added:

“The Girton, Sailability groups from Aspire this year have shown us the shear motivation and termination to overcome their barriers, which in turn has inspired us as volunteers to do more, side by side.”