Cowes Sailability Club members participated in the world-renowned Round the Island Race, sailing 50 nautical miles in nine and a half hours.
In what was undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime, three members of Cowes Sailability Club and one accompanying volunteer took part in the Round the Island Race 2017. They joined other people with disabilities – including two wheelchair users – on a yacht that circumnavigated the island in the respectable time of 9 hours, 33 minutes and 9 seconds.
The group from Cowes Sailability Club included Danielle Burgess, a member with a severe sight impairment. After completing the 50 nautical mile journey, her initial reaction was simply, “Wow! Wow! Wow!”
Danielle had wanted to participate in the Round the Island Race ever since moving to the Isle of Wight, but, due to her deteriorating vision, didn’t think that she would ever have such an opportunity. “The whole experience was amazing,” she says, thinking back to the day. “It was so exciting to hear and feel the presence of so many other boats, so very close to us, especially when we all started to race towards the finishing line. This is definitely one off the bucket list for me.”
The race was undertaken in the Spirit of Scott Bader, a 35-foot wheelchair accessible catamaran owned by the Disabled Sailing Association and expertly skippered by a professional yachtsman, John Douglas. The yacht was chartered for the race by the Gwennili Trust, an approved RYA Sailability foundation organisation that Cowes Sailability Club has collaborated with successfully over many years.