Sussex Sailablity fleet packed away in Shoreham after 'fantastic' summer

A Shoreham charity's fleet of boats, which are specially adapted for use by people with disabilities, have been put away for winter following a 'fantastic summer' of sailing.

Volunteers at Sussex Sailability spent a busy Saturday morning scrubbing, checking and de-rigging the boats at Sussex Yacht Club in Brighton Road, Shoreham.

Sussex Sailability members at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham

Sussex Sailability members at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham

Each year the annual lay-up prepares the charity’s 15 specially adapted boats for storage over the winter months, undertaking all the checks needed to ensure that they are ready for the following spring.

Sailability, which was founded by the Royal Yachting Association, provides sailing opportunities for Sussex people with a wide range of physical, sensory, learning and other disabilities or difficulties.

Kevin Headon, from Sussex Sailability, said: “We’ve had a fantastic summer; the weather has been kind to us and has allowed us some wonderful sailing.

“However, as we move into autumn, the water and the weather get colder.

Sussex Sailability members at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham

Sussex Sailability members at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham

"Our sailors find that, because they can’t move around so easily, they can’t warm themselves up quickly enough or maintain their body heat so we have to stop activity.

“So our lay-up day is all about cleaning up the boats, de-rigging and getting them ready for bed for the winter.

“Thanks to the hard work of all our amazing volunteers, who kindly gave up their Saturday morning, everything was ship-shape in just a couple of hours.”

The charity is encouraging more people interested in taking advantage of the opportunities at Sussex Sailability to get in touch and find out more.

Sussex Sailability members at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham

Sussex Sailability members at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham

Mr Headon hopes people will be inspired by south coast's successes in the sport in recent years - with probably the best known being Helena Lucas from Southampton, who won Gold at the London Paralympics and Bronze at Rio.

The charity's 15 boats range from single-handers (one equipped with servo assisted controls) to 23 ft racing keelboats.

It also has a Ro-Ro power boat, accessible for people who need to stay in their wheelchairs.

With the aid of a National Lottery Grant, the Sussex Yacht Club premises at Shoreham have been modified for disability access.

Hoists have been installed on the jetties to lift sailors to and from their wheelchairs.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Sussex Sailability, visit www.sussexsailability.org.uk or email sussexsailability@gmail.com

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