An excursion up the River Medina gave people with disabilities a chance to see the Isle of Wight from a whole new perspective, while enjoying the company of other club members.
On a sunny day in August, Cowes Sailability Club organised a boating excursion for members and volunteers, departing from Cowes, journeying to Island Harbour for lunch at the Breeze restaurant, and returning. Twenty people cruised along the River Medina in a flotilla of three boats, including two people in wheelchairs and other members with a range of complex physical disabilities.
The gentle voyage up and down the river gave many of the passengers the chance to see familiar Isle of Wight locations from an entirely new perspective for the first time, as Patrick de Peyer, Commodore of Cowes Sailability Club explains. “Most of our members have lived on the Isle of Wight for many years but their disabilities often prevent them from exploring rural areas, such as the banks of the River Medina. They thoroughly enjoyed the views of the island that they could gain from the water and there was a great sense of camaraderie aboard all of the boats.”
The excursion involved passing through a lock at Island Harbour, an experience that was new to many. The boats also passed the Blade Runner, a barge used on the river to transport huge wind turbines that are manufactured on the Isle of Wight. “There was certainly a lot for us to talk about over lunch and everyone had a great time,” Patrick adds. “A short cruise to a friendly yacht club or hostelry is quite a common pastime for those with boats, and it’s good to be able to offer the same fun to our members.”