Cowes Sailability Club members recall positive experiences from the 2019 sailing season and remember, in particular, the day the cake went to sea!

Amelia Money

Toby Matthews

Between April and September 2019, members of Cowes Sailability Club got together every Monday afternoon to go sailing in the club’s two accessible sailing boats.  Most weeks, members and volunteers enjoyed cake together when they got ashore, but at the end of the season, the cake went to sea, and the crews of the two vessels had a picnic in the middle of the Solent.

Amelia Money, a young person with learning difficulties who attends St. Catherine’s School, was one of the people who took part in this impromptu high tea.  “It was pretty cool when we had cake on the boat, working as a team to pass the cakes between the two crews,” she says.  “I enjoy going to Cowes Sailability Club sessions on Mondays, meeting my crew mates and making new friends.”

Toby Matthews, who is recovering from critical injuries sustained in a road accident, was also there to enjoy cake afloat.  “Sailing with Cowes Sailability Club is always great fun – but the day the box of cake came out onto the water was especially good,” he says.  “I get a lot of positive neurological and physical benefits from being a part of Cowes Sailability Club.  It’s what I call sailing therapy for me!  I’m not sure about the health benefits of the cake, but it was lovely.  I’ve decided that cake tastes best with friends at sea!”

Cowes Sailability Club’s weekly sailing sessions give people with a wide range of disabilities the opportunity to take part in a regular physical activity, learn new skills and make new friends.  “We had some wonderful afternoons of sailing on the Solent with members this season – but it’s not just the hours on the water that lift members’ spirits,” says Cowes Sailability Club’s Commodore, Paul Wilks.  “Club sessions are very sociable and everyone enjoys the chance to make new friends and chat with other people who have disabilities over a cup of tea and piece of cake.  It really is a very friendly club and volunteers and members alike have a lot of fun.”

Homemade cake is provided for the weekly meetings by Helen Wilks, while other volunteers make hot drinks and chat with members.  “I would like to say a huge thank you to Helen for baking cakes throughout the 2019 season and also thank all the other volunteers who help on Monday afternoons,” says Trish Rooke, the club’s Fundraising Officer.  “The club couldn’t operate without the support of the volunteers who come along every week and make sure everyone is having a good time