Disabled can try out sailing

Last updated 12:00 25/01/2014

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The Nelson Yacht Club is aiming at branching out into providing for disabled sailors, and plans to gauge interest with a "have a go" day this Sunday.

Spokesman John MacDuff, who has had a long association with the club, is hoping to revive early attempts to provide accessible sailing. A Nelson-Marlborough trust formed a while back acquired two purpose-built Access dinghies, one of which went to Queen Charlotte Yacht Club and the other, eventually, to an Otago club.

Mr MacDuff said the boat that went to Marlborough is now back in Nelson, and the yacht club was keen to see if there was enough interest in establishing an accessible sailing group in Nelson.

"Similar groups occur in many other yachting centres, so I'm keen to see Nelson launch this initiative.

"We have one Access Dinghy, gifted to us by the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club and if enough interest is generated over this weekend then we'll seek funding for more yachts and a small support boat," Mr MacDuff said.

He said at this stage there was no hoist available to assist people in wheelchairs into the yacht, but Port Nelson had allowed the club to use the nearby floating pontoon for Sunday's open day.

"With enough interest, we'll seek public support and look to include this facility [hoist] to open the sport up to a wider group," Mr MacDuff said.

The Sailability Nelson trust has been formed whose purpose will be to own and operate the equipment, and sailors will be associate members of Nelson Yacht Club and Yachting NZ.

There were five people booked in already to take part in the open day, which runs from 10am until 2pm tomorrow.

Anyone interested in taking part is advised to contact John MacDuff on 03 544 7324 or mobile 027 424 5112.

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- The Nelson Mail

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