Sailability was established in Australia by Yachting Victoria in 1991. By 2000, Sailability Victoria was incorporated as a not-for-profit charitable organisation.
The Sailability program focuses on introductory and recreational sailing programs designed for people with disability and is now conducted at sailing clubs throughout Australia. The program is not just about opportunities for people with a disability, it extends to people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, indigenous Australians, those who are financially and socially disadvantaged, and other groups within our community not traditionally attracted to sailing.
Under the initial and ongoing guidance from GippSport, the Newhaven Yacht Squadron conducted its first Sailability even in May 2014, and has since held many events with participants from Bass Coast Specialist School, South Gippsland Specialist School Leongatha, Yooralla Leongatha, Interchange Gippsland and Connecting Skills Australia. Our program thus far has also involved participants going out in club members’ yachts and power boats, with some very successful fishing expeditions also being achieved. Around 40 volunteer club members have gained a great deal of fulfilment by contributing to our Sailability program.
When our Sailability program began our aim was to acquire 4 Hansa dinghies to enable the participants to sail these specially designed little yachts themselves, and to become active and challenged sailors. The Hansa design features allow total novices of any ability to sail with little or no tuition, almost regardless of the conditions. To see the Hansa dingies in action you can watch these videos below.
Our Hansas will also be used in our ‘Introduction to Sailing’ days where we offer the general public the opportunity to have a go at sailing (see the Events section for dates). Their simplicity will ensure first-time participants experience a positive and successful sailing experience , whilst they are still capable of exciting and extending the experienced and proficient sailor.
The club has been able to obtain one Hansa via a VicHealth Active Club Grant; and is now hopeful of acquiring 3 more with a successful Bass Coast Shire grant application and the financial support of local organisations. Additionally, the Club has made a substantial financial commitment to building a shed in which to house our new dinghies. Construction of this will being in the near future.
Volunteers of all abilities are more welcome to be involved in our program. Please contact the Sailability co-ordinators: Alen Garret (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stan Jackson (email@example.com).