This week saw the conclusion of Bray Sailing Club’s 2018 “Lakers at Sea” programme which further developed the relationship between the club and Lakers members. (Lakers is a local sports and recreation club for children and adults with an intellectual disability.) This year, Bray SC hosted two “Try Sailing” courses as well as a regular sailing programme for Lakers members called “Lakers at Sea”, which saw Lakers members sailing on a fortnightly basis, instructed by a volunteer team of Bray SC Instructors.
In preparation for the season, Bray SC Instructors undertook an Inclusion Sailing Training Day with Irish Sailing’s Inclusion Officer, Ciarán Murphy back in March. This training day helped to equip BSC’s Instructor team with the skills necessary for the season that lay ahead.
This year’s programme benefited from the summer’s great weather, with no days lost to bad weather, and this offered participants the opportunity to try a variety of boats, ranging from the club’s fleet of training dinghies to cruisers kindly provided by club members.
In all, 28 Lakers members participated during the season and the final outing of the season saw trainees being joined on the water by their parents, demonstrating that sailing really is a sport for all. The evening concluded with a BBQ and presentation of certificates in the clubhouse.
The “Lakers at Sea” programme was just one aspect of Bray SC’s efforts to expand inclusion in training – other initiatives included designing a personalised training programme for a novice sailor who was born without arms but has acquired a specially adapted Hansa Liberty with customised foot controls; and the involvement of the Club’s entire instructor team in the Watersport Inclusion Games at the end of August.
Commenting on the year’s activities, Declan Lavelle, Commodore of Bray SC said: “We in Bray are very proud indeed of our team of young instructors. The enormous voluntary commitment which they have put in this year has set a great example to the membership as a whole and showed how we can really welcome all newcomers to the sport we love.”
Jack Hannon, the Club’s Senior Instructor, said: “The whole instructor team at BSC deserves great praise for all of the hard work they have put into developing our inclusion programme this summer. After a long day’s work on our Junior Training programme to come down and give their time freely in the evenings with such enthusiasm and professionalism is something to be credited. I speak on behalf of the whole team when I say that we loved every minute of our sessions with our new trainees and our time spent working at the Watersport Inclusion Games in Galway. Sailing really is a sport for all and a sport for life, and we demonstrated this by having the parents of Lakers members on the water sailing with their sons and daughters for the final evening. While it may be the end of this particular season, I am sure this is only the start of things to come as we aim to further promote inclusion in sport in Bray SC and beyond!”