At the height of the sailing season, Cowes Sailability Club arranged excursions for members in a brand new, wheelchair-accessible powerboat.

Members of Cowes Sailability Club and groups of islanders with disabilities have had the privileged opportunity to enjoy trips on a brand new vessel, specially designed and built to cater for passengers with wheelchairs and complex needs.  The high-speed excursions on Wetwheels Hamble gave adults and children alike the chance to experience the excitement of racing through the waves.

Launched in May 2016, Wetwheels Hamble is the latest vessel to be made available as part of the Wetwheels initiative and is based at the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble.  It is specially adapted to enable people in wheelchairs to drive it and is capable of reaching 35 to 40 knots.

Three trips took place for club members on successive Monday afternoons in June and July, and participants included adults and young people with sight loss, multiple sclerosis, learning difficulties and long-term spinal conditions.  Four further excursions were arranged for groups of children and adults with learning difficulties from the Isle of Wight organisations St George’s School, the Phoenix Project and Kingston Farmhouse.

“Trips like these can be enormously beneficial for people with disabilities,” says Patrick de Peyer, Commodore of Cowes Sailability Club.  “The experience of being on the water and trying new things helps individuals to build self-confidence, improve communication and learn that they can overcome their challenges to have a fulfilled life.”

Representatives of Cowes Sailability Club, including Patrick and Carol de Peyer and Philippe Wines, visited the Royal Southern Yacht Club on Friday 29th July and presented a picture to the Wetwheels Hamble team to thank it for its support.  The picture was received on behalf of the group by the Wetwheels Foundation’s founder Geoff Holt MBE DL, as well as Dick Long and David Mead.