On Friday, December 1, the Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Pamela Rothfield, officially opened the Newhaven Yacht Squadron Sailability Dinghy Shed. We also exhibited our newly-acquired Hansa sailing dinghies and safety boat.
Sailability is an international movement providing access to boating activities for all abilities, and Newhaven Yacht Squadron Sailability is one of 27 programs in Victoria. Our program has developed over the past four years with guidance from GippSport. It provides for participants from the two local Specialist Schools – Bass Coast and South Gippsland; and the local young adult agencies – Yooralla, Scope, CSA, Interchange.
In the past, volunteer members have taken participants out sailing, fishing, and exploring the local environment in their own boats. The dinghy aspect of the program is more in line with other Sailability Programs, and will enable participants to take control and sail themselves. As the Hansas are sailing dinghies specially designed to be virtually impossible to tip over, they are ideal for people with disabilities, children and novice sailors. We hope that eventually we will have representatives in state regattas, and perhaps international regattas.
As Mayor Rothfield noted in her address, the purchase of the Hansas and the safety boat and the erection of the shed was an outstanding community effort. As well as cash allocated by the Squadron, funding was gained from Bass Coast Shire and VicHealth grants and sponsorship from the San Remo and District Community Bendigo Bank and the Phillip Island Patchworkers.
We will be offering Discover Sailing Days over the summer/autumn period, and welcomes all members of the public to come and try sailing in these safe and exciting little boats.
More information can be found on the Newhaven Yacht Squadron website, or by contacting the Sailability Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org