Sussex Sailability urgently seeks more volunteer sailors

A Shoreham-based disability charity is urgently looking for volunteers who can sail, so they can support its members as they take to the water.

Sussex Sailability needs to recruit up to 12 volunteers who can help the charity at least one day per month. They would enable disabled sailors to learn and enjoy the sport, in a safe and controlled environment, on the charity’s specially adapted boats.

Declan Rock and Chris Hodge on board one of Sussex Sailability's boats

Declan Rock and Chris Hodge on board one of Sussex Sailability's boats

Kevin Headon of Sussex Sailability said: “There is nothing like feeling the freedom of the water, it is a life-changing experience for our sailors, some of whom have had very little experience of sailing when they join us.

“At the moment we cannot provide enough sessions for all our sailors, because we just do not have enough volunteers. So, if you can sail and have a little spare time then we would really welcome your help.”

The charity is seeking experienced skippers, especially small keelboat or dingy sailors, but also those with a background in sailing who are willing to learn.

Additionally, the group needs safety boat qualified volunteers, ideally with a Royal Yachting Association Safety Boat qualification or people with a PB2 licence who would like to work towards a Safety Boat qualification.

Kevin added: “Volunteering is incredibly rewarding, especially when you see the positive difference that you are making to someone’s life.

“We provide all the training that is needed and free or highly subsidised nationally recognised qualifications.”

Chris Hodge, chairman of Sussex Sailability, has been sailing since he was paralysed in a sporting accident 16 years ago.

He said: “I love that sailing has given me the opportunities for adventure and competition that I enjoyed before my accident. Sussex Sailability’s fleet of boats, which are adapted for use by disabled people, allow me to get out on the water and to take part in races alongside able-bodied people.

“Volunteers are an important part of Sussex Sailability; helping to keep the boats in good condition, getting them ready to go sailing and allowing disabled sailors to learn, improve their skills and get the most from their sailing. This enables Sussex Sailability to make sailing one of the few sports that is totally inclusive for disabled people.”

Sussex Sailability is based at Shoreham’s Sussex Yacht Club, which is soon to begin work on building a new clubhouse and facilities that have been specifically designed to be easily accessible to sailors with disabilities.

To find out more about volunteering for Sussex Sailability email Kevin at sussexsailability@gmail.com for details.

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