Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Joy of Sailing at Sailability Middle Harbour

Sally O'Neill Sailing Coordinator
Twice a month on Sunday mornings,  winter, spring, summer, autumn, in sun or drizzle, a group of volunteers and sailors take over the dock outside the Australian Olympic Sailing Team HQ at the Middle Harbour Yacht Club. This is where they launch their Access 303 dinghies.  

Sailability Middle Harbour is right next to MHASC laser club, we share the same entrance to  the harbour. The Sailability sailors are usually coming in from their last sail as we rig for our afternoon Laser races. 

Last Sunday I took my camera onto the dock to capture some shots of the sailors and volunteers and to learn more about it.

Volunteers are trained to help sailors with the greatest care and respect
Sailability Middle Harbour has been going for five years and is supported by Northbridge and North Sydney Rotary Clubs. They have five boats stored at the MHYC with another boat soon to be donated.

At Middle Harbour they sail the Access 303. It is safe and easy to sail by one or two adults.  10 ft long ,4 ft wide with a 3.5 ft draft, the boat is steered with a manual joystick.

Some sailors come in groups which include Sunshine Homes, which provide adult care for those with Downs Syndrom, CROWL a home for intellectually disabled adults and the Celebral Palsey Alliance. DARTS provides transport for wheelchair restricted people.
Lachie Clear

Sailability Middle Harbour costs only $5 per sail or $40 a year. The club welcomes new sailors and volunteers.

The lone sailor is  Lachie Clear. Lachie sails regularly by himself and competed at the Access World Championships in England in 2010

There are 350 local Sailability clubs around the world. Sailability was introduced to Australia in 1991 and there are over fifty groups on the continent.  
President John Taylor (JT) supervises a crane assisted boarding

To find out more about these extraordinary sailing clubs click on these links.

The joy of sailing
Off for another adventure on Sydney Harbour

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