During a traditional ‘laying-up supper’ to mark the end of the sailing season, Cowes Sailability Club announced the winners of its 2021 Achievement Awards. Presented annually, these trophies recognise the dedication, enthusiasm and accomplishments of volunteers and members, both on and off the water.
Amy Wheeler (pictured with her carer Laura Worsfold) was the well-deserved winner of the award for best sailor. She was one of the first members to re-engage in boating activities at the beginning of the season. Always smiling, she showed enormous enthusiasm when going out on wheelchair-accessible boats throughout the summer and clearly really enjoyed herself. Her excitement was contagious, and everyone had a great time when she was around.
Mike Bull was presented with an on-shore volunteer award for his ability to deal with almost any ‘on land’ situation in a calm, easy-going manner. Time after time, he put members at their ease by quietly reassuring those who were anxious and by sharing the excitement of those who couldn’t wait to set off. His contribution to running Cowes Sailability Club’s Cowes Week excursions was invaluable.
Another on-shore volunteer, Kathryn White, was praised for her work writing articles, newsletters and other marketing materials for the club. Kathryn was also thanked for setting up and running a telephone-based buddying initiative to support disabled members during two successive COVID-19 lockdowns. Called ‘Ahoy There,’ this scheme lifted the spirits of disabled people and volunteers who were feeling isolated, and earned the club a high commendation from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).
The award for best on-the-water volunteer was presented to Robin Whitehead for helming one of the club’s sailing boats every Monday throughout the season. Helming with quiet confidence, he ensured that members had a good experience, whether they had sailed before or were setting sail for the first time.