Disabilities forgotten at RVYC Open Day

Trips on a wheelchair-accessible motor boat enabled people with disabilities to enjoy the world-renowned Cowes Week regatta.

Once again, Cowes Sailability Club teamed up with the Wetwheels Foundation to offer accessible boating trips for people with disabilities during the Cowes Week regatta. Over 170 people, comprising children and adults with disabilities and their families or carers, enjoyed exhilarating excursions in the Solent.

This year, Cowes Sailability Club was able to offer many places specifically for young people with disabilities, including those with multiple, profound and complex impairments. “Cowes Week attracts sailors and visitors from all over the country, but island families who have disabled children often struggle to get involved in this world-renowned event,” says Paul Wilks, Commodore of Cowes Sailability Club. “Cowes Sailability Club is proud to have been able to organise inclusive and accessible water-based activities, enabling everyone to have fun in Cowes Week.”

This is the 8th year that Cowes Sailability Club has organised motorboat trips for people with disabilities during the Cowes Week regatta. As well as families, Cowes Sailability Club welcomed several groups of adults with learning disabilities or physical disabilities from assisted living organisations and care homes.

All the Cowes Week trips took place on a nine-metre catamaran called Wetwheels Solent, owned and operated by the Wetwheels Foundation. The boat has been specially designed to cater for people with disabilities and can accommodate up to three wheelchair users at any one time. Nineteen trips departed from East Cowes Marina between Monday 2nd and Friday 6th August.

“We are very grateful to the Wetwheels Foundation for continuing to support this annual event, as well as all of the Cowes Sailability Club volunteers who assisted on the day,” Paul says. “We would also like to thank East Cowes Marina for providing a berth and facilities where Cowes Sailability Club’s volunteers could great participants. 2021 was another very successful Cowes Week.”