Foyle Sailability will launch their first Access 303 Sailing Dinghy on Saturday, April 5 at the Foyle Marina at 11a.m. This specialised dinghy was funded through the Loughs Agency’s Sustainable Development Fund with sponsorship support from Foyle Port.
The boat will be managed by Ocean Youth Trust, who are proud to be a part of this exciting partnership which will give people of all abilities new and exciting sailing opportunities and allow them to develop these skills locally, for life. This inaugural accessible dinghy signals a commitment to establish a fleet of adapted accessible boats for the north west cross border area. This is a very welcome first step in enabling people with disabilities to participate fully in marine activity and enjoy the natural resource of River and Lough Foyle.
Foyle Sailability was set up in 2012 with the double aim of providing both a local accessible environment and accessible vessels for people with disabilities to enjoy sailing opportunities and to participate in any other water-based activities. At Sailability’s first local Regatta in May 2013, approximately 200 participants took part in sailing and other water based activities on the River Foyle.
Cathal Mac Elhatton, Chair of Foyle Sailability, said, “Sailability is a worldwide movement for people with disabilities, to get access to the water and learn to sail independently in accessible boats as well as participating in all other water based activities. Foyle Sailability’s first regatta was well received and the high level of interest shown has encouraged us to explore further opportunities and we are delighted to launch the inaugural sailability access dinghy for the River Foyle. I am confident there will be a continued growth in interest from people with disabilities to participate in sailing and other water based activities when the opportunity arises. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our funding partners and our many volunteers for their continued support without which our work would not continue and succeed.”
Loughs Agency’s chief executive, John Pollock, is delighted at the progress of Sailability and hopes to maintain the Agency’s support for this worthwhile venture. And, sponsors, Foyle Ports Chief Executive, Mr Brian McGrath, added, “The River Foyle offers an outstanding facility for marine leisure activity and our support for Foyle Sailability ensures this opportunity is available to as many enthusiasts as possible”.
Volunteer Disability Awareness Training
Disability Awareness Training will also take place on Saturday, April 5, and Foyle Sailability would like to invite anyone who wishes to volunteer to come along at 10.00am. Volunteers will provide essential assistance at events for the coming season including regattas in Greencastle, Lough Swilly and on the River Foyle.
Anyone who is interested in being a volunteer or participating in the Foyle Sailability Regattas this year, contact Foyle Sailability by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
This initiative is supported by Western Health and Social Services Trust, Foyle Disability Resource Centre, Derry City Council, Derry District Sports Council, Donegal County Council, Donegal Sports Council, Foyle Port, Loughs Agency, Lough Foyle Yacht Club, Moville Boat Club, Ocean Youth Trust, Royal Yachting Association, Irish Sailing Association, Lough Swilly Yacht Club, Belfast Lough Sailability and a wide range of other disability organisations.