What floats your boat?
As the new year starts, Chesil Sailability have the chance to reflect on their first full summer season and the opportunities they have created for local people with disabilities to go sailing.
Inspired by the 2012 Paralympic Games, started as an idea in January 2013, Chesil Sailability really got going in 2014. With weekly sessions running from April to September, almost 50 sailors took to the water. That included people who had never been sailing before – experiencing for the first time the joy, freedom and exhilaration of being afloat. Some sailors made their own personal debut onto the racing scene, with a competitive race team securing a podium finish at every event they entered through the year. Several overwhelming donations meant that Chesil Sailability’s own small fleet of fully accessible dinghies started to take shape too.
Chair of Chesil Sailability, Hugh de Iongh, said “Looking ahead to 2015, we want to build on the success of this year, sharing the amazing experience of being afloat with more and more local people with disabilities. We want to support our sailors to have fantastic experiences, whether pottering about in boats, or racing. Our Race Team are competing in the Europeans and we are hosting the Nationals in 2015, so there is plenty to look forward to and get training for! But Chesil Sailability really is for anyone with any kind of disability who wants to sail at any level!”
All of this requires the support of a dedicated team of volunteers since Chesil Sailability is entirely volunteer run. Over the winter, training is planned to ensure that all the volunteers feel confident in their role. Those roles can range from reception, administration, looking after the boats, to hoisting sailors in and out of boats on the pontoon and to coaching and safety cover on the water. Whether you know how to sail or not, or want to keep your feet dry, there is a role for you at Chesil Sailability! Volunteers talk about how wonderful it is to be by the sea during the summer, being part of a great team, and helping make a real difference to the lives of people with disabilities.
If that sounds like something that would float your boat – or you would like to try sailing, get in touch with Chesil Sailability