Displaying items by tag: Sailability
Today's second day of racing at the Sailability President’s Cup and Hansa National Championships was cancelled in anticipation of more than 20 knots of breeze forecast at the Royal St George Yacht Club on Dublin Bay this morning.
As Afloat reported yesterday, the Ulster team of two Squibs, a Hansa and a 2.4m clinched the overall Presidents Cup Trophy on 36 points, just ahead of the Munster team on 37.
Just one point separated the first three places in the eighteen strong Hansa fleet. Cara O‘Sullivan (Munster) won the Hansa Nationals in style on just 6 points. Best performing youngest junior girl in the fleet went to Lucy Kinner (Ulster). Best junior boy was awarded to Jack Cunningham (Connaught) and best newcomer to Cian Nolan (Leinster).
The Spirit of Sailability trophy went to Mary Duffy for her determination and sportsmanship for competing solo in very challenging conditions yesterday.
Special thanks to our sponsors including Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Gold Partner Softcat also Dun Laoghaire based.
Also a huge thank you to all our volunteers, in particular, the buddy sailors, race officers and everyone who has supported the event throughout the weekend.
Royal St George YC Commodore Peter Bowring and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Cathaoirleach Shay Brennan presented the prizes. See photos below:
This weekend the Royal St George Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour is hosting the President’s Cup and Hansa National Championships.
Inaugurated by Paralympian John Twomey this Irish interprovincial regatta is the highlight of the Sailability calendar. Promoted by Sailability Ireland, this competition is to provide anyone with a disability from the 32 counties of Ireland the opportunity to compete on the water and experience the joys of sailing.
Despite the challenging conditions, there was no stopping these determined competitors getting out on the water and completing three races in each fleet.
After day one, the Ulster team of two Squibs, a Hansa and a 2.4m are leading. With Munster hot on their tail, it’s all to sail for tomorrow.
Leading the fleet of 18 Hansas is Emile Moisy (Munster) with two wins. Cara O‘Sullivan (Munster) and Lucy Kinner (Ulster) in close pursuit. Kevin Downing’s Munster crew lead the eight-boat Squib fleet just ahead of Miriam Quinn’s crew (Leinster) and David Johnstone’s crew (Connaught). John Patrick (Ulster) achieved three wins in the highly competitive 2.4 fleet.
A big thanks to all the volunteers, in particular, the team of buddy sailors, rib drivers, race officers and all those who have provided a helping hand behind the scenes.
The RYA is welcoming the launch of a UK-wide disability inclusion campaign and highlighting the benefits of sailing for all participants.
The Activity Alliance’s Who Says? campaign is calling time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion and sport.
It was created in response to the national charity’s recent research, which explored people’s attitudes on inclusive activity and found that a lack of understanding could be creating long-lasting barriers for people with disabilities.
The findings of the research showed a general lack of awareness, inexperience and unfamiliarity with disabled people although there was a good awareness that sport should be for everyone.
Non-disabled respondents also recognised that they could benefit from taking part in inclusive activities.
However, non-disabled people were concerned about the negative impact taking part together may have on the wellbeing of disabled people.
The top three concerns were that they may patronise disabled people (53%), disabled people may get hurt (47%) or that they may say something inappropriate (37%).
The aim of Who Says? is to empower people to challenge their own and other people’s perceptions through a series of short films.
RYA safeguarding and equality manager Jackie Reid said: “The research shows that certain perceptions around disability in sport should be challenged and it is time for an awareness raising initiative like the Who Says campaign.
“At the RYA we operate on the basis that sailing and boating are open to anyone, no matter what their age or disability and our aim is to facilitate the inclusion of all sailors, whether they want to compete or just have fun on the water.”
The RYA says all of its clubs and training centres should be able to respond appropriately to an enquiry from someone with a disability, and discuss whether they are able to make reasonable adjustments to meet that individual’s needs.
Sailability is the RYA’s national programme in the UK giving people with disabilities the chance to try sailing and to take part regularly.
The British network of more than 200 RYA-approved sailability sites have boats and facilities to cater for people across the whole spectrum of abilities.
RYA sailability manager Joff McGill said: “Challenging perceptions can make a real difference to whether people can get out on the water or not.
“With over 200 locations across the UK, it is easy to get on the water near you and staff and volunteers across the sailability programme are committed to open and positive conversations about what it takes to get each person sailing.
“There are so many benefits – being active, improving wellbeing, new social connections and learning new skills.”
To find out more about sailing opportunities for disabled people, or those that need specific support to get on the water, visit the RYA’s sailability programme web page.
"People of different abilities can sail a boat. Sailability makes sailing available for people with disabilities. It gives equality and opportunity through the attraction of the sport and the sea," says Donal Hickey who organises the Sailability programme at Kinsale and is a strong exponent of what the sport can provide for disabled people.
"We run it every Saturday morning throughout the season and it has evolved into a vibrant part of the sport and the club."
"Kinsale Yacht Club is very impressive in its commitment to inclusiveness in sailing"
Kinsale has been a big supporter of disabled sailing through the years. Sailability Ireland was set up by Irish Sailing as a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation to promote wider participation and has provided the resource to purchase specially-adapted boats, such as the.2.4 metre, designed for people with disabilities. It has optional foot or hand-steering and can be adapted to suit the needs of any sailor. The Sonar and Squibs are other boats used in disabled sailing.
Donal Hickey grew up "looking out" on Roaringwater Bay in West Cork, where his father had one of the legendary wooden ‘sand boats’.
"My own first boat was a motor boat when I was 28, but I also sailed and I crewed in Cork Week a couple of times. I was asked to help on a safety boat for the Sailability programme one morning at Kinsale and when I saw how much interest disabled people had and their determination, I decided to give it my support. I’ve seen how people with disabilities, physical, mental, all benefit from interaction with the water and the positive effects that has on their lives.
"A fear of water can be their first challenge and we help to overcome that, building confidence with training and instruction to become involved in a fully inclusive environment with all the club members. There is great support for the programme in Kinsale Yacht Club. Disabled sailing opportunities are not only for younger people and Donal told me that parents, also disabled and their children, were sailing together through the training programme.
"We cater for anyone who we can help to come onto the water and enjoy the sport. There is a lot of interest and the benefits of sailing as a sport for disabled people are clear to see."
Kinsale Yacht Club members, Paralympian John Twomey and European Medal winner Gina Griffin, who sailed the 2.4 metre, have raised recognition of the level of the club’s commitment to promoting disabled sailing.
"I would like to see the Sailability programme become available to a wider audience throughout the country and get more recognition. Positive government support would help. It is a sports programme which can deliver so much positive benefit," Donal told me.
He will be a leading figure in the running of the Watersports Inclusion Games which will be staged for the first time in Cork this August 24/25, at Kinsale Yacht Club.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH DONAL HICKEY BELOW
More than 960 volunteers are helping to sustain sailing and boating across Northern Ireland each year, according to the RYA Northern Ireland.
In 2017, over 91,000 people took part in a sailing or boating activity.
And with 9,600 club members, volunteers are vital to keeping the sport alive.
“I first got involved through a member of Carrickfergus Sailing Club, who was also a member of Belfast Lough Sailibility. My husband and I had joined the sailing club as we wanted to develop our sailing skills. We spent an evening volunteering with BLS and loved it,” she says.
“Although we had no personal connection regarding disabilities, we were immediately drawn by the immense satisfaction of helping others.”
Gemma explains that her role is to support the overall aim of BLS and to provide access to waterborne activities for people with disabilities.
She says: “The rewards are seeing the smiling faces and hearing the laughter of participants and of being part of that. It is humbling to see just how they overcome extreme challenges.
“In addition to this, I get the opportunity to work with a great team of likeminded people and the craic is great.”
Gemma tells RYANI that she would recommend others to get involved, and she believes they will also see the rewards.
“I love it and always leave a volunteering session with a big grin on my face. I would absolutely encourage others, regardless of their abilities, to volunteer. I believe it is of benefit to both myself and others.
“It is only a few hours of my time each week, but it has a big impact upon people who get a lot of enjoyment from our support.”
The third Watersports Inclusion Games will take place in Kinsale this August.
The weekend will have the latest on adaptations and innovations for optimised watersports delivery, as well as a focus on examining, measuring and promoting the therapeutic benefits of water activity and the impact of watersports on wellbeing.
The event is organised by Irish Sailing in association with Canoeing Ireland, Rowing Ireland and Cork Local Sports Partnership, supported by Kinsale Yacht Club Sailability, Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre, Sailing Into Wellness and Spinal Injuries Ireland, and funded by the Sport Ireland Dormant Accounts Sports Inclusion Fund.
Clubs, organisations and community groups working with people with disabilities who are interested in bringing a group or individuals, or in having a presence at the expo element of the event, are invited to register their interest.
Individuals interested in attending the event with up to two family members or friends may also register, as can watersports activity providers who would like to showcase their organisation. Volunteers of all experience levels are also needed for the weekend.
Children aged under 18 and vulnerable adults attending must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.
Held at the Sailability National Conference and Awards dinner at Wyboston Lakes on Saturday (16 February) — with more than 160 delegates representing 57 sailability sites across the UK in attendance — the awards recognised individuals and organisations whose contribution and achievements have made a real impact.
The Exceptional Contribution Awards are presented each year individuals who, over a considerable period have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to boating and getting people on the water.
Belfast Lough’s Anne Taylor said: “My son had a very serious illness and we were very lucky that he made a full recovery. He may not have and if he hadn’t, he would have needed something like sailability to keep his spirits going.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have won this award, I think it’s excellent for our group, Belfast Lough, and for raising the profile of sailability in general.”
A new award this year was the #MoreThanSailing Award, recognising a new and innovative project, activity or piece of work that has enabled inactive disabled people to become more active. The first ever recipient was Jon Gamon and the SEAS Sailability group at the Conway Centres in Anglesey, North Wales.
Jon Gamon commented: “It’s great to take this award back to North Wales, setting up the SEAS Sailability group has been a real community effort, there’s been lots and lots of people involved and to be able to take this back to the Conway Centres and show everyone, they’ll all be really proud. It means such a lot, it’s amazing.”
RYA sailability manager Joff McGill added: “Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners. The Sailability Annual Awards recognise the dedication, commitment and contribution of so many, but of course it’s way more than that, there are so many other people who have given so much and we’re just recognising a few of them.”
Sail Training Ireland chief executive Daragh Sheridan has hailed the recently announced Government funding for young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part in tall ships training voyages as “a hugely positive development for the charity”.
Sheridan added that the funding “will enable [Sail Training Ireland] to offer the life-changing opportunity of sail training voyages to even more young people across the island of Ireland.
“It will also mean that we can expand our inclusion voyages that ensure people of all abilities can participate.
“I believe that the Government decision was positively influenced by the highly respected individuals and organisations who already support us.”
Sheridan also expressed his thanks to Paul Kehoe, Minister of State at Department of Defence, and Finian McGrath, Minister of State for Disability Issues, for their support.|
Minister of State with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, has announced further details of the new funding approved by Cabinet young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds to embark on tall ship training voyages.
Joined by Minister of State with responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, Minister Kehoe announced the provision of a grant of €85,000 in 2019 and again in 2020 which will go towards youth development in Sail Training Ireland’s charitable programme.
The objective of sail training is youth development rather than just teaching people to sail, which the ministers underline as an important distinction.
In 2018, Sail Training Ireland placed 341 young people on sail training vessels, over 90% of whom were from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Sail Training Ireland does not own or operate is own vessels, but charters as required. This is a different model to the state’s previous sail training vessel, the Asgard, which sank off the coast of France in 2008.
Trainees are selected by nominating organisations such as the HSE, Garda Diversion Projects, Tulsa, Irish Wheelchair Association and the Irish Refugee Council. A total of 37 nominating organisations provided trainees for placement in 2018.
Skills such as communication, leadership, confidence and teamwork are all developed when on board a sail training vessel.
Sail Training Ireland also facilitates young people with a disability to avail of the sail training experience. In 2018 over 25% of those placed on voyages were young people with a disability.
In terms of gender balance, of the 341 trainees in 2018, 185 were young men with 156 young women. Trainees have also come from over 25 counties in Ireland which includes five in Northern Ireland.
The new funding for this year and next has the potential to deliver an additional 50 places for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in each of those years.
Speaking at an event onboard the Brian Ború vessel at Poolbeg Yacht Club in Dublin today (Friday 11 January), Minister Kehoe commented: “Many of the young people that will selected for these projects have experienced significant difficulties and hardships in their lives.
“In some instances, the opportunities provided by Sail Training Ireland have allowed young people to turn their lives around.
“I would like to commend the work that Sail Training Ireland has undertaken in recent years and wish them well as we face into a new year.”
Minister McGrath added: “Sail Training Ireland once again have shown their commitment to working with people with a disability and I am delighted to be part of today's event.
"Officials from the Department of Defence are engaging with the chief executive and chairman of Sail Training Ireland to ensure child safeguarding procedures are in place and to finalise appropriate governance and financial requirements, in advance of the grant being paid.
"At the end of two year period, a review of the outputs and outcomes of the expenditure will be undertaken by my department."
The not-for-profit initiative, which gives people from various backgrounds opportunities to crew tall ships, welcomed the news as “recognition of the fact that 86 people or 25% of our trainees this year had a disability of some kind. Well done to all for taking on the adventure.”
Sail Training Ireland also thanked its supporters for their continued efforts, which have been “instrumental in making this opportunity available to people from all backgrounds and abilities”.
The winners of this year’s National Inclusion Awards will be announced on Wednesday 28 November.