More than 300 people were on hand to officially open the Sailability Wellington Trust's new jetty at the Titahi Bay Boating Club recently.
That number included the Minister of Sport Grant Robertson and Wellington mayor Mike Tana, as well as the Auld Mug.
The opening of the jetty came to fruition after four years of hard work, particularly by the Sailability Wellington Trust.
Five years ago Sailability Wellington decided to expand into the Kapiti and Mana areas, and discovered that it was not within the capacity of any of the clubs in the Porirua City area to provide facilities for sailors with disabilities.
The all-tide jetty was conceived and designed by the trustees of Sailability Wellington and built at a cost of $250,000, with all money raised by the trust without government or council assistance. Community and gaming trusts supplied most of it, as well as a significant donation from the estate of Duncan Renouf, a former Titahi Bay sailor, after whom the jetty is named.
The opening event was preceded by a coaching clinic for Sailability racing sailors on November 17 and followed by an open regatta in Hansa class dinghies over two days. Members of Sailability Taranaki and Tauranga joined in the regatta and festivities.
“All the racing was extremely close with race officer Ray Manning’s great idea of using an America’s Cup-type course with a reaching start across to a turning mark then downwind to a gate back upwind for a few laps and reach to finish was great for both sailors and spectators," Yachting New Zealand’s Wayne Holdt said.
Sailability Taranaki sailor Mel Mason teamed up with Sailability Wellington's Remy Thomassen to win the doubles event over Matthew Henderson and John Andrews, Fiona and Darryl Smith third. John Andrews dominated the singles event, with Mel Mason continuing her good form in second place with Remy Thomassen in third.
Sailability Wellington operate five days a week and have three bases, 190 sailors and more than 70 volunteers. They take people with all sorts of abilities and disabilities on the water to enable them to enjoy the sport of sailing.
The members of Sailability Wellington Club each sail within their own ability, often to learn to both sail solo and to race. While the number of sailors may seem big, the trust still have a waiting list of nearly 90 potential sailors. Their catchment includes all of the Wellington region stretching up to Horowhenua.
“Our trust has simply responded to the call from those people who can’t enjoy the sport of sailing any other way," Sailability Wellington chief executive Don Manning said. "The last six years have seen us make massive capital expenditure. We now own 27 boats and hope to encourage support from the public for an increasing administrative budget. We have shown that we are worthy of support."
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