Foyle Sailability Regatta, 18th & 19th June – sailing for people with disabilities.
Foyle Sailability, a voluntary organisation aimed at providing people with disabilities an opportunity to learn how to sail and access water based activities, is inviting expressions of interest from people with disabilities and their representative groups who wish to take part in their two-day regatta in Derry on 18th & 19th June.
Cathal MacElhatton, Chairman of Foyle Sailability said, “This is our second time running the two day event. We were simply astounded by the level of interest and the success of last year’s event. Through a great voluntary effort we managed to provide 150 people with disabilities access to the water over a two-day period and using a variety of vessels. Since then, we have been very fortunate to have secured our very own specialist Access 303 dinghy thanks to Ocean Youth Trust Ireland, Foyle Port and the Loughs Agency. We named her ‘Foyle One’ and hope that this will be the first in a fleet of disabled accessible dinghies.”
Foyle One, which was funded by the Loughs Agency and Foyle Port and managed by Ocean Youth Trust Ireland and Foyle Sailability is a specially adapted dinghy – one of a number of Access 303 dinghies available for the forthcoming regatta on 18th and 19th of June at the Foyle Marina in Derry city.
He continued, “This year we are running the two-day event again in Derry city in advance of the arrival of the Clipper boats and we are seeking expressions of interest from people from the Foyle area (Derry, Donegal etc) interested in taking part. We are asking interested, individuals and groups to contact Foyle Disability Resource Centre on 028 7126 6593 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for expression of interest forms.”
Foyle Sailability is a cross border initiative supported by three local boat clubs – Lough Foyle Yacht Club, Lough Swilly Yacht Club and Moville Boat Club, Derry, Donegal and Limavady Councils, Foyle Port, the Loughs Agency, Derry District Sports Council and with corporate sponsorship from Cable and Accessories and Fujitsu.
Bill McCann, Harbour Master at Foyle Port, hailed last year’s event a great success and said he is very much looking forward to the forthcoming event in June. ”Foyle Port is very supportive of the event and the initiative in general and it was very fulfilling to see such activity at Foyle Marina during the two days, but most particularly because it was for people who would not normally have the opportunity to take part in sailing or other water-based activities. With the build up to the Clipper festival, I expect this year’s Foyle Sailability Regatta to be even more successful.”
The initiative is gathering a definite momentum. Having tested the waters last year by running one event, this year the regatta in Derry will be the first of a number of events, one of which will take place in Greencastle on 14th August supported by Donegal County Council and tying in with Greencastle Regatta.
John Pollock, chief executive of the Loughs Agency said, “The development opportunities for Foyle Sailability are endless and we at the Loughs Agency are very supportive of the voluntary effort, particularly as it is a true cross border initiative. While in its infancy, I have no doubt that Foyle Sailability will continue to go from strength to strength”