The weekly sailing activities arranged by Cowes Sailability Club throughout the summer succeeded in putting huge smiles on faces. Every Monday afternoon, when weather conditions permitted, the club provided sailing opportunities for people with a broad range of disabilities on its two sailing boats.
“After lockdowns and long periods of shielding, being able to go out on the water on a sailing boat really lifted everyone’s spirits,” says Cowes Sailability Club’s Commodore, Paul Wilks. “We were delighted to meet up again with long-standing members of the club, as well as welcome new people who had never sailed before and didn’t realise that sailing would be possible with their disabilities.”
All of the sailing activity that took place this summer was recorded using a new tablet, purchased with funding from the RYA, and an RYA Sailability app called ‘Sailactivity’. Over the last two years, the RYA has provided invaluable support for Cowes Sailability Club’s sailing programme. In particular, it funded updated first aid training for twelve established volunteers, disability awareness training for ten new volunteers and safeguarding training for twenty five. It also funded two new marine VHF radio licenses.
“The RYA has been very supportive,” says Trish Rooke, Fundraising Officer at Cowes Sailability Club. “It has been great to be able to use a tablet to sign members in this year. The Sailactivity app allows us to record not only who goes out on sailing trips, but also how they feel about their experiences when they get back.”
Leon Ward, RYA Sailability Development Officer, says: “It’s fantastic to see Cowes Sailability back on the water and great to see them using the Sailactivity tool to record their sailors’ experiences. These experiences can be used to demonstrate the positive impact sailing has on everyone, which is especially useful for Cowes Sailability when they meet new groups, who are thinking about going sailing or when they apply to funding bodies for future projects.”
Sailing activities have now concluded for this year, but are expected to resume again next year, in early May 2022.