Sailability Antigua leads the way in Regional Inclusive Sailing Programmes
07 Jan 2019
You may have heard the terminology Sailability Antigua, or Sailability, and wonder what on earth it is.
Check out the website www.sailability.org and you will see that the programme in Antigua is currently the only one in the region. Located at the National Sailing Academy in English Harbour, the programme was bought to Antigua by retired English couple Bob and Sue Bailey. Entirely volunteer based from their standpoint, with the support of a number of corporate partners and the infrastructure in place at the National Sailing Academy, they provide the ability for up to 85 youths and adults who are disabled, to enjoy the experience of sailing on a weekly basis.
Why is this so key right now? Well in two weeks-time coaches and sailors from countries from 10 countries around the region will convene in Antigua along with World Sailing instructors to attend a Para-sailing Development Programme. Attendees of the programme will gain an understanding of how to instruct people who are either physically or mentally challenged with a view to more countries setting up a similar programme across the region. And at home here in Antigua, Bob sees that there is still opportunity to grow the programme further.
Bob says, ‘Until now we have had difficulty in including physically challenged people on the programme because our boats are only accessible down a steep staircase. However thanks to the Jumby Bay Fund we have just completed work on a new dock area which includes a ramp for wheelchair accessibility and a hoist which will allow us to lift people directly from their wheelchair into the boat.’ He went on to say, ‘According to the World Health Organization statistics there are an estimated 2000 people in Antigua and Barbuda with physical and mental disabilities and it is our objective to reach as many of them as possible and include them in the programme.’
To kick start what will be a two-week Festival of Sail at the National Sailing Academy, the new dock will be officially opened by Governor General Dr. Sir Rodney Williams this coming Sunday, January 13 Aside from a barbecue, drinks and music, people have the opportunity to have a FREE sail in one of the Hansa 303’s. it’s a great opportunity to try sailing with an instructor in a protected bay.
Following on from the Fun Day, the boats will be used for two weeks. Week one is for the normal lessons which take place at the academy including youths who attend the schools programme and in the week two for the Para-sailing Development Programme.
Join the Fun Day this coming Sunday or call in and take a look and book a lesson. Sail training is available at the National Sailing Academy year-round for youths and adults. Youths who attend the programme as part of the National Curriculum do so for free. Other lessons are charged at a very affordable rate.