How Ro­tary is sup­port­ing Sail­abil­ity

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Rotary Corner - By Janet Cooke - email: janet.4.cooke@bt­in­ter­

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 web­site­ter­bor­ough­sail­abil­ 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:­

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