Sailability opens gang planks to all

Onlookers watch the boat being made ready

Sailability, the charity formed by Rye Harbour Sailing Club to help get disabled sailors and potential sailors out on the water, had its first outing last Saturday August 26.

All aboard!

The weather couldn’t have been kinder, with the gentlest of breezes from the southwest for the experienced volunteer skippers, Tom Ashmore and Anna Knight and crew, preparing to get Sailability boat Luey rigged and ready to sail. Five taster sailors, who had never sailed before, all with varying degrees of disability, waited patiently to sail. Members from RHSC and RHSC Sailability worked together at the RHSC Sailability Charity launch to make it a great day, which began with a delicious buffet, provided by David and Jen Tomkinson, for the 60 or more people who attended. The food was generously donated by Sailability members.

Kerry Phillips, First Sailability Member

People turned up to sail from local charity ARRCC, and their CEO Grace O’Neill said she was delighted with the event and wanted to get more people to come along for the next Sailability Session in September. Kerry Phillips who attended with the ARRCC team has become our first Sailability member; he said he didn’t want the sail to end! We also had visitors from Little Gate Care Farm at Northiam, and Gaynor Edwards from Ozone Creative. Hastings, and Rother Disability Forum had a presence of some five or tsix who had to remain as onlookers as we would need more equipment and resources to be able to make sailing possible for wheel chair users.

On the advice of The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Disability Development Officer, RHSC Sailability is beginning by offering the facilities already at hand then we can build on our user needs subject to getting funding to make this possible. We are holding an auction of donations later in the year to raise much needed funds for equipment as well as initial running costs. Our first Sailability boat, Luey, a Sport 16, was very kindly gifted to us by Sussex Sailability. We are also extremely grateful for a very generous donation of just over £1,000 from the Rye Community Shop Fund which enabled us to buy 21 buoyancy aids to make sure all our taster sailors are safe on the water.

A raffle was held and with donations we raised just over £100. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their help and everyone who came to make it such a successful and memorable day. If you would like to get involved and volunteer to help with RHSC Sailability or to make a donation please contact

Photos: RHSC


  1. We, at Rye Community Shop, were very pleased to support RHSC Sailability by helping them with the purchase of the life vests. We wish them success in raising more funds to continue this important community initiative.


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