Sailability Cronulla's sixth boat to provide more opportunities for people with a disability

Club members and supporters at the launch of Sailability Cronulla's sixth boat by mayor Carmelo Pesce and Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman. Picture: John Veage
Club members and supporters at the launch of Sailability Cronulla's sixth boat by mayor Carmelo Pesce and Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman. Picture: John Veage

More children and adults with a disability will get to experience the thrill of sailing while others will spend longer on the water following the launch of Sailability Cronulla's sixth boat.

Rotary Club of Caringbah donated funds for the boat, which was launched by Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce and Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman.

The event was part of an open day designed to increase public awareness and encourage more people into bringing family members to experience sailing.

Thirty seven special education students from Endeavour Sports High School and Port Hacking High School, along with adults from Sylvanvale, participated in the open day.

Sailability Cronulla was established in 1998 with the commitment to provide freedom on the water regardless of ability.

A dedicated crew of volunteers provides a safe, secure and enjoyable environment.

President Martin Tabone said the addition of a sixth boat was very important.

"It gives us he flexibility to increase the number of sailors and to extend their time on the water," he said.

"With more than 30 members in our club we are now in a position to possibly provide more sailing days.

"With the help of Cronulla Sailing Club, located on Gunamatta Bay, we are able to provide access for individuals confined to a wheelchair and have personal hoists for assistance to lower them into the boats.

"Our boats are Hansa 303s, which have been specially designed for disabled sailors allowing them to sit alongside a crew member.

"A crew member sails the boat initially and gives advice. When disabled sailors are assessed capable enough, they take the helm and progress further with the training."

The club's goals are:

  • To provide enjoyment for disabled children and adults.
  • To train future sailors who require an outlet.
  • To inspire disabled sailors to achieve independence.
  • To allow them to challenge themselves and give them the avenue to compete in sporting events.

"None of this could be achieved without organisations such as Cronulla RSL Club, who have supported us over the years with funding to purchase the equipment to keep us safe," Mr Tabone said.

"We have also received great support from the Rotary Clubs of the Sutherland Shire, who have provided sailing boats in the past and, more recently, the Caringbah club, which donated funds for our much needed sixth boat."

Mr Tabone said new new sailors and volunteers were welcome.

"If you are interested in giving it a try, or know someone who will benefit from the great work of Sailability, head down to the Cronulla Sailing Club on first and third Thursday and Sunday of the month between 9am and 1pm," he said.

A casual sail costs only $5.

More information: sailabilitynsw.org.