Sailing accessible for everyone in Greencastle

New pontoons for disabled sailors set to be installed this week

Foyle SailabilityNEW facilities to allow people with disabilities access to sailing will be used for the first time this week at Greencastle Harbour.

The new ‘H’ pontoon is equipped with a hoist for wheelchair users and allows people who are restricted or limited in their mobility to easily transfer from the pontoon to various boats.

Foyle Sailability, a voluntary cross border initiative to encourage people with disabilities onto the water, will be the first to benefit of new disabled access facilities in Greencastle during their Regatta next week.

The pontoons will be installed in the pier at this week ahead of the Foyle Sailability Regatta, which is set to take place in Greencastle on Thursday, August 14, from 11am – 4pm.

There will be access to and from the pontoons on the Queensport or Maritime Museum side of Greencastle pier.

Local councillor Martin Farren has welcomed the funding to allow for the instillation of the pontoons, which was awarded to Greencastle by the BIM’s FLAG programme, following an application by Donegal County Council.

He says the event and the new facilities will allow people with a range of disabilities the opportunity to take to the water either by dinghy, clipper canoe or motor boat – all in the safe hands of experienced volunteers.

“This is great that Greencastle has been awarded this funding,” said Cllr. Farren. “Sailing has become a very popular sport and its so important that everyone is able to take part and avail of the facilities.

“I’d like to thank Seamus Bovaird and Karen McCormick, both from the area, for putting so much work and effort into securing the pontoon with disabled access. It’s absolutely fantastic that we have this now in Greencastle,” he added.

While this is a first event of it’s kind in Greencastle, earlier this year in Derry more than 120 people with disabilities took part in a similar event, and organisers on this side of the border are hoping for similar numbers and familiar faces next week.

“Sailing is one of the most accessible sports for disabled people to participate in and is also one of the only sports where people with disabilities can participate on equal terms with able-bodied people,” said one of the organisers Seamus Bovaird.

“Foyle Sailability is determined to make sure as many people as possible, regardless of type or severity of disability, have the chance to discover what sailing could do for them, and when they do attend Sailability sessions, they have the best experience, on and off the water.”

Those interested in taking part in the Regatta next week, should contact foylesailability@gmail.com or 0044 28 7126 6593.