Cowes Sailability Club provided free, accessible boating trips for disabled islanders and their families or carers during the Cowes Week regatta.
For the fifth year running, Cowes Sailability Club made it possible for island residents with disabilities to overcome their personal challenges and enjoy the excitement of Cowes Week on a boat. During the course of the world-renowned sailing regatta, 174 adults and children took part in the trips, of whom 89 had a range of disabilities and 34 were wheelchair users.
“Often, people with disabilities are unable to really appreciate large events like Cowes Week because of the crowds and the lack of accessible facilities,” says Cowes Sailability Club Commodore, Patrick de Peyer. “Cowes Sailability Club changes this by making it possible for disabled people and their families, or carers, to have a truly unforgettable experience on the water during the regatta and create wonderful happy memories.”
Islander Pamela Downer says, “My disabled partner really enjoyed himself and was able to drive the boat. We went really fast and it was lovely to see the young people on board laughing and screaming with delight. It was a brilliant trip out and a wonderful service for people with disabilities on the island. Thank you, Cowes Sailability Club.”
The hour-long trips took passengers out into the Solent in Wetwheels Solent, a nine-metre catamaran that can accommodate up to three wheelchair users at any one time. The vessel was made available to Cowes Sailability Club for Cowes Week by the Wetwheels Solent CIC, through the generous support of the quadriplegic yachtsman Geoff Holt MBE DL.