Danielle Burgess says:

Not long after I moved to the Isle of Wight in 2011, I heard about the spectacle of the Round the Island Race when hundreds of sailing boats circumnavigate the island. I remember thinking I would never be able to sail myself. Then, the following summer, I came across Cowes Sailability Club and I suddenly realised that my blindness wasn’t an obstacle to achieving that dream.

I am registered as severely sight impaired, having suffered with progressively deteriorating eye sight for many years. As a member of Cowes Sailability Club, I now get incredible pleasure from being able to go out into the Solent on Iris and Windhover, two lovely little sailing boats, and feeling the wind and salty spray on my face. The volunteers are really great; they are my eyes and I trust in them completely. I just love speed too and have had some amazing experiences on fast boats like Wetwheels.

Cowes Sailability Club has given me a skill that I never thought I would be able to gain. It has also opened up a new social circle for me and enabled me to meet some wonderful people. There’s a lot of laughter in the club and it’s always great fun.

When I was given the Cowes Sailability Club award for On the Water Achievement 2016, I was really surprised and pleased. It was reassuring to learn that the club’s volunteers had seen an improvement in my confidence and abilities. This year, my goal is to helm more and hesitate less! I now know for sure that it is not about what I can’t do on the water, but what I can do.

Danielle Burgess

Danielle is pictured here with Cowes Sailability Club Commodore Patrick de Peyer receiving the 2016 award for On the Water Achievement.