Anchor’s aweigh to launch Sailability

Sailability - getting' Luey'  ready
Sailability - getting' Luey' ready

It was anchor’s aweigh at Rye Harbour Sailing Club last Saturday (August 26) with the much anticipated launch of the Sailability Charity.

Members from Rye Harbour Sailing Club (RHSC) and RHSC Sailability worked together to make the launch an enjoyable event for all.

The day began with a buffet provided by David and Jen Tomkinson - with food that was generously donated - and the club’s commodore, Caroline Wylson says the weather couldn’t have been kinder. “There was the gentlest of breezes from the South West,” she said. “Volunteer skippers, Tom Ashmore, Anna Knight and crew, prepared Sailability boat Luey, getting it rigged and ready to sail. Five ‘taster’ sailors, who had never sailed before, with varying degrees of disability, waited patiently to sail.”

The Royal Yachting Associations (RYA) Sailability is the RYA’s national programme enabling people with disabilities to try sailing and take part regularly.

People from Rye Activities, Respite, Rehabilitation, Care Centre (ARRCC) were keen to try sailing at RHSC and their CEO Grace O’Neill says she was delighted with the event and wanted more people to go along for the next Sailability session. “Kerry Phillips who attended with the ARRCC team has become RHSC’s first Sailability member,” she said. “He thoroughly enjoyed the day and said he didn’t want the sail to end!”

Visitors from Little Gate Care Farm at Northiam and Hastings and Rother Disabilities Forum also attended the launch.

Caroline added: “On the advice of RYA Disability Development Officer, RHSC Sailability is beginning by offering the facilities already at hand then we can build on our user’s needs, subject to getting funding to make this possible.

“We are holding an auction of donations later in the year to raise funds for equipment and initial running costs.

“Our first Sailability boat, Luey, a Sport 16, was very kindly gifted to us by Sussex Sailability. We are also extremely grateful for a very generous donation of just over £1,000 from the Rye Community Shop Fund which enabled us to buy twenty one buoyancy aids with a rail to make sure all our taster sailors are safe on the water.

“A raffle was held and with donations we raised just over £100. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their help and everyone who came to make it such a successful and memorable day.”

If you would like to get involved and volunteer to help with RHSC Sailability email: