How Rotary is supporting Sailability
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition has been taking place at the Marina da Glória with 80 athletes from 23 nations competing across three events. Powered only by the wind, sailing boats crewed by athletes with physical, motor and visual impairments aim to navigate the designated course faster than their opponents. It brings true excitement to an event that brings these very special men and women into direct competition, all at the mercy of the same conditions in the unpredictable waters of the beautiful Guanabara Bay. Congratulations to Great Britain who ended the Rio 2016 Paralympic sailing regatta with two bronze medals after Helena Lucas and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell clinched podium finishes.
Nearer to home, at Ferry Meadows Watersports Centre in Peterborough, Sailability is a charity run entirely by volunteers many of whom are Rotarians. It provides an opportunity for people with all kinds of disability and their carers to experience the pleasure of sailing as well as gaining important social interaction in pleasant outdoor surroundings. The fact that clients return week after week, many for several years, speaks for itself. Some disabilities allow people to learn and apply the skills of sailing themselves, while others sit back and just enjoy the ride. Eight Challengers each carry one passenger and one of our “buddy” sailors. The Challenger boat is a specially designed and rigged trimaran for use by disabled persons. These boats are launched and recovered about 1,000 times during the season, lasting from April to October.
Recently a brand new Challenger boat, costing £7,500, was handed over to Bob Bailey, Chairman of Peterborough Sailability by Phil Branston President of Peterborough Minster Rotary Club. Following an ex- ceptionally good year raising funds from Firework Fiesta and their annual charity Golf Day, Peterborough Minster Rotary Club managed to fulfil an already established wish to support the local Sailability with a new boat. The boat was christened with champagne and launched for maiden voyage by Club members. Sailability receives regular hands on support from the Minster and other local Rotary clubs in managing and running this invaluable service.
Apart from the boats, volunteers are our most important asset in maintaining this service to the local community. We welcome enquiries from new people with some time to spare on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Take a look at our website www.peterboroughsailability.org or better still, pay a visit. Who knows, we could produce a future paralympian.
A weekly round-up of news and views from Rotary clubs in the Peterborough area: www.rotary1070.org