AFLOAT: Sailing duo get back on the water

AFLOAT: Sailing duo get back on the water

By Laura Kitching

BRISTOL TEST: Tim Scarisbrick sailing in Bristol thanks to Chesil Sailability

TWO sailors who have been missing from local start lines in recent years because of illness have got back on the water in Portland Harbour.

Anya de Iongh stopped sailing in 2011 after an accident and the diagnosis of several long-term health conditions.

Now, with neck brace and bucket seat, she has been out almost every Wednesday evening over the summer.

After a brilliant sail in a 2.4m keelboat, the only bit that ached was her cheeks from grinning ear to ear all afternoon. She said: “I feel like me again!”

Tim Scarisbrick suffered a severe stroke in December 2010 and was devastated that he would no longer be able to sail his beloved 505 again.

He was finding it hard to come to terms with not sailing as it had been part of his life since the age of three.

His saviour came in the form of Chesil Sailability.

He was delighted they could offer him the chance to sail again. He too sailed during the summer and was given the privilege of entering an open meeting at Bristol.

“Wow, thank you Chesil Sailibilty and all the volunteers,” he said.

It’s not just been the waters of Portland either – both Tim and Anya went to the Bristol Access Class Association Traveler Trophy event in August.

After a day of very light winds in the vortex that is Bristol Docks they were pleased to see Portland Harbour again.

All of this has been possible because of Chesil Sailability – the new sailing group for people with disabilities that has been established this year at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) – a true local Paralympic sailing legacy.

After the first meeting in January, the group got afloat in July, just before meeting Lord Sebastian Coe, and have been sailing weekly since then.

Supported by a dedicated team of volunteers, six to nine sailors each week have managed to get afloat in our two loan boats, an Access 2.3 and an Access 303.

The group has already been donated funds for their first boat and hope to be adding to their fleet next year.

Now Chesil Sailability has had its final session of the season, the group are looking ahead to next year, training volunteers, fundraising and boat maintenance over the winter, and then planning weekly summer sessions.

Anyone wishing to support the local Paralympic sailing legacy is welcome to join the team for some winter work, help out with fundraising or assist with on-the-water sessions as a skipper in the boats – in a rigid inflatable boat or on shore keeping your feet perfectly dry.

For more information about Chesil Sailability contact info@chesilsailability.org.uk or visit chesilsailability.org.uk

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