SWARKESTONE SAILABILITY HOSTS MAJOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS news article
RYA Press Release
1 September 2010
SWARKESTONE SAILABILITY HOSTS MAJOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
A host of the country’s best disabled sailors will descend on Swarkestone Sailing Club as Swarkestone Sailability plays host to the 2010 Access National Championships this weekend (4-5 September).
Raced by both disabled and able-bodied sailors, the Access class dinghy caters for all sailors regardless of physical, intellectual, emotional status and, with both one-person and two-person variations, it has become one of the most popular dinghies for enabling people with a disability to experience sailing and sail regularly.
Since its launch in 2000, Swarkestone Sailability has established itself as one of the country’s most popular venues for Access class sailing and around 15 Swarkestone sailors are expected to do battle for honours on their Ingleby home waters at the Nationals.
Sailability is the RYA’s charitable arm with Sailability clubs having a wide range of special facilities, such as hoists, launching ramps and specially-adapted changing rooms all geared up to enabling disabled people to enjoy sailing while Swarkestone will also be drawing on their invaluable team of dedicated club volunteers to help the sailors get the most out of their racing this weekend.
Swarkestone attracts 20–40 sailors to their popular Wednesday afternoon Sailability sessions which accommodate an astonishing range in ages from 10 to 92. The club also has well established links with five local care homes that bring sailors to the club for the weekly Sailability activity. Swarkestone’s Sailability project has helped disabled adults and children find new levels of freedom while encouraging the sailors to engage in all aspects of racing and club life. Disabled members are an integral part of the club and regularly compete in open club racing on Wednesday evenings and at the weekends.
Ken Butterfield, Swarkestone Sailability Fleet Captain, believes hosting the Access Nationals is tremendous recognition for the part Swarkestone plays in providing sporting opportunities for Derbyshire’s disabled communities.
He said: “It’s a real honour to be hosting the Access National Championships. Although we are a relatively small sailing club we have one of the largest and most active Sailability groups in the UK. From the start a key aspiration for Swarkestone has been to integrate Sailability into the main club and we have managed to achieve this as many individual Sailability members join club racing and play an active role on the general committee and in club administration.
“We’re now actually at the point where demand has outstripped supply and we have more people that want to sail with us than we do boats available. It has been our goal for 2010 to purchase five new Access dinghies and refurbish our existing fleet of 10 boats, and the fundraising for this to meet the demand is ongoing.”
The Access National Championships get underway at Swarkestone SC with a training day, led by RYA Disability Racing Development coach Matt Grier, on Friday before racing takes place on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information on the Access National Championships at Swarkestone Sailing Club visit www.swarkestonesc.co.uk
There are currently no fewer than 130 RYA Sailability sites in the UK – to find your nearest Sailability site visit www.rya.org.uk/sailability