Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Foyle Sailability Gets a Permanent Base

18th January 2022
Work on the new Prehen Sailability pontoon
Work on the new Prehen Sailability pontoon

The River Foyle flows into Lough Foyle in the North West of Northern Ireland through the city of Derry and in that area there are already established the Marina, Foyle commercial Port, Lough Foyle Yacht Club and Foyle Search and Rescue. Now Foyle Sailability, who up until this season had no permanent base, have seen work start on their first home at Prehen less than two miles upriver from the City.

The Derry and Strabane District Council has given the club a compound and a container, and a new pontoon is being built there. As there are only certain times that work on the riverbank can be undertaken because of wildlife, construction has just begun with a completion date sometime in the Spring.
The club has a core of 30 regulars, sailors and volunteers, but pre Covid the membership was much larger. However, it is hoped that they will be able to hold events this year, with the situation becoming more normal. Having space to store the fleet of four Hanse dinghies, a Hawk and two safety boats is a bonus.

Prehen, the site of the new pontoonPrehen, the site of the new pontoon

Lough Foyle Yacht Club member and Chairman of Foyle Sailability Garry Crothers, the one-armed sailor who sailed single-handed in 2020 from the Caribbean was Afloat Sailor of the Month in June that year and last year the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) awarded Garry its 2020 Seamanship Award. And Secretary Ken Curry was recently honoured by HRH The Princess Royal at a Ceremony in London with an Outstanding Contribution award.

Ken Curry (left) was given an Outstanding Contribution award by HRH The Princess Royal recentlyKen Curry (left) was given an Outstanding Contribution award by HRH The Princess Royal recently

Garry and Ken are delighted that Foyle Sailability will have a base to work from at long last. “Foyle Sailability is super excited to see the work started on a new pontoon at Prehen. The 66-metre pontoon will have services, disabled access and a hoist to enable wheelchair users access to the river. Derry City and Strabane Council will provide a compound and container for storage. This will be the first time in 10 years that Foyle Sailability has been going that they will have somewhere to call home. The work is to be completed by the early Springtime, so after two particularly bad years, we can look forward to getting our disabled sailors out on the water on a regular basis”.

Garry Crothers Garry Crothers

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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About Sailability

Sailability gives access to sailing for people living with disabilities or disadvantages. This Charity also provides kayaking. The aim is to train, educate and encourage more people with disabilities or disadvantages in getting on the water with a qualified dinghy, powerboat and first aid instructors.