Monday, 6 October 2003, 7.00pm ? 150 leaders of the Melbourne-Greek community began arriving at the Melbourne Town Hall. The occasion? Celebrating the sister city relationship between Melbourne and Thessaloniki and the Melbourne launch of Sailability Hellas.
The City of Melbourne worked with Sailability in 1999 to help introduce Access Dinghies to its Japanese sister city Osaka and has now assumed the challenge of assisting Sailability to make a similar contribution to another of Melbournefs sister cities ? Thessaloniki.
The Sailability Hellas project has the full support of the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr Vassilios Papageorgopoulos. The Honourable Theo Theophanous, Minister for Energy, Industries and Resources, Mr Eleftherios Kouvaritakis, Consul-General for Greece and Professor Anastasios M. Tamis, Secretary of the Melbourne Thessaloniki Sister City Association reflected the Mayorfs support during their speeches.
But it was the City of Melbourne who provided the first contribution to the Sailability Hellas project. Lord Mayor John So presented an $8 000 cheque to the Access Dinghy Foundation. The contribution has supplied an Access Dinghy to establish SailabilityThessaloniki. The City of Melbournefs Access Dinghy was on display during the evening and even received its first test run as the Lord Mayor leaped inside the hull for a photo opportunity!
The evening proved to be a tremendous success ? lively conversation and plenty of enetworkingf. The City of Melbourne, through supporting organisations like the Access Dinghy Foundation, aims to provide the opportunity of a better quality of life to sections of the community who are traditionally at a disadvantage. Our sister city relationships together with the support of our communities are an ideal means to achieve this. We hope this function has spawned the flow of many contributions towards Sailability Hellas.
Congratulations to all and thank you to Jackie Kay and Chris Mitchell for contributing to a great evening. See Item 3 for more info about Melbournefs contribution to Sailability Hellas.
Ahoy everyone ,
Well, what a wonderful dilemma for any editor?too many articles to fit in our usual size newsletter. I am sure that you will enjoy the wide variety of articles submitted from all over the world. Thank you everyone who has sent in contributions. Keep them coming, because this is a problem that I really enjoy.
Over the past couple of months there has been a great deal of energy throughout the world discussing the potential for a third discipline in the Paralympics in 2008 at Beijing. A new discipline would cater to the needs of severely disabled sailors. There is currently a forum on the ISAF site, so if you are interested, go to www.sailing.org, ISAF Sailor, register yourself as a sailor and go to Sailors Forums then the IFDS Disabled Sailors.
We now have a stock of the delightful little book, gGet Your Bum Wet Againh. It is a compilation of short stories written by Access Dinghy sailors and their friends. This new edition has a more international flavour, with the Forward written by Sir William Deane, former Governor General of Australia. Contact us if youfd like details of how to obtain a copy.
I hope our constantly expanding family enjoys this bumper edition of Telltales. Jackie Kay
3. Hellenic Spirit Concert
Sponsored by City of Melbourne, Marathon, 3XY, TV Hellas, Ta Nea and Premier Developments Pty Ltd the Hellenic Spirit Concert was a celebration of Greek culture in Melbourne.
Under the musical direction of renowned composer, Mr. Christos Ioannidis, the 17 member orchestra, the 50 member Florinian Choir of Melbourne and five soloists thrilled the passionate, predominately Greek, audience numbering 1000. Big Greek sounds had the audience stamping their feet and clapping to the beat, while a slide show of monuments, shipwrecks and the power of the Olympic ideals was flashed on a big screen above the stage.
The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, The Honourable, John So said, gHellenic Spirit is a celebration of the lively Greek culture that abounds in Melbourne and the wonderful support shown for Melbournefs sister city relationship with Thessaloniki. I am pleased to advise that the proceeds from this eveningfs concert will be donated to the Access Dinghy Foundation, which is running the Sailability Hellas project in Thessaloniki. Sailability Hellas aims to provide sailing opportunities to sections of the Thessaloniki community who are traditionally at a disadvantage, with the hope of offering them a better quality of life.h
I have been a volunteer with Sailability in Sydney for five years and while on a visit to Germany, visiting my mother, I was invited to Holland by Irene Wentink to help with their first sailing day. So on 28th June, 2004 Irene and her friends heartily welcomed me at the Water Sports Club "het Witte Huis" (The White House) in Loosdrecht at the Loosdrechtse Plassen (Lake).
It was a wonderful weekend and one of the highlights was
meeting Wilma. Wilma suffers from bad post-traumatic dystrophy and wanted to use
the electric dinghy. Wilma used to sail prior to her handicap. Wilma was the
first to use the electric dinghy and after some cushioning she was ready for the
launch. You should have seen the laughs and the smiles in her face! Freedom and
independence for the first time! The joystick worked well and was easily handled
after some modifications were made for easier handling. Wilma could not find her
way back to port and even tried to sail the islands of the lake, she just
enjoyed her freedom so much. After hours of sailing Wilma still was not ready to
go back to port, but it was getting dark...
On the second day of sailing, Wilma used the electrics to adjust the boat's sail as well as steering. This created an even bigger joy for her. Both days had a wonderful breeze to move the boats along and when I left to return to Germany on Sunday afternoon, Wilma was still out on the water cc
On September 13-14, 2003, the Cornish Hen Regatta was held at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. The childrenfs regatta had a total of 115 boats from all levels of sailing ? from the fairly easy to handle Optimists to the very demanding 29ers. What really set this regatta apart was that this was the first year in Ontario that a childrenfs regatta included Access dinghies, skippered by Able Sailors. For those not familiar with Able Sailors, we are kids who, having some degree of disability, sail in specially designed Access dinghies. The Access dinghy is easy to rig and can be sailed single-handed (as they were during the regatta) or with two people on board. The boat is very safe and has an extremely heavy daggerboard so it wonft capsize.
The Access dinghies were grouped in on the same course, the Green Fleet, with the Optimists (Optis). Although the Optis are more agile, that did not stop us from crossing the finish line ahead of some of them. There were two participants from the Childrenfs Developmental Rehabilitation Programme (CDRP) at Chedoke Hospital, Spencer Gilman and myself, and two participants from Erinoak Childrenfs Treatment Centre in Mississauga, Amanda Schmidt and Joey Leben. Congratulations to Spencer Gilman who placed first in the Access dinghies. Spencer and I had both participated in the Learn to Sail program at the RHYC during the summer.
Thanks to everyone involved in making this regatta possible and to our great coaches. Thanks to CDRP for inviting me to participate in this event. It was a great experience. Even though it was two fairly demanding days of racing, we had great fun and made great friends. I encourage anyone with a physical disability to come out and try Able Sailing next year ? you wonft believe the freedom! I hope to see you on the water.
Getting our first three Access 303 Dinghies to Hungary was not easy. They travelled by container to Rotterdam with other dinghies for the Netherlands and France. But from Rotterdam, nobody wanted to transport them to Budapest. Eventually we got them to Budapest by air freight!
Our first demonstration was planned for Lake Velence where there is a summer camp for children with disabilities, and they have some sailing experience in old, wooden dinghies. My first sailing partner was REa, who has been sailing for 9 years. She said she was a good swimmer, because their old boats capsize easily.
The level of the lake has been on the decline for years and the bottom is muddy. There is a nicely sheltered little bay where we could launch from, but there were rocks right at the mouth of this little harbour, which we managed to miss only once. Safely past the rocks, we sailed out onto the blue-gray lake. There we soon sailed onto a submerged mudbank. Two young boys swam out to pull us out of the mud. When they stood up next to the boat, the water was only thigh deep! We sailed back into the tiny bay and did the rest of our sailing there.
We had good media coverage with two TV channels, three newspapers and one magazine there to see the new boats. Also there were Szekeres PE (in Hungary, they put the family name before the first name), assistant to the Hungarian Ministry of Sport, and Pancsa JEsef, president of the Hungarian Sports Federation for the Disabled. REa told them the Access 303 was much better than what they had been using since she first learned to sail, and she was most impressed that we didnft have to shift from side to side when we tacked. More stories and pictures soon from Sailability Hungary.
Wrong ! On arriving at the club it was obvious that Chris was chomping at the bit and the sailing was going ahead as planned. With the mainsails and jibs partially reefed (a great Access Dinghy feature) three Access Liberties set out onto Port Philip Bay. My earlier estimate of the wind strength was accurate, but the rain squalls had passed and the day appeared to be on the improve.
In these very adverse conditions, the handling characteristics of the Liberty were amazing to say the least. To windward, the bow lifted over the two metre waves with no water coming over the deck. The helm was beautifully balanced enabling the boat to be comfortably steered through the lumpy waves. Unlike many yachts, which in similar conditions, can be a real bitch to tack, the Liberty never hesitated in going through the eye of the wind and quickly settling onto the new tack. On easing the mainsheet and a tug to leeward on the joy stick steering, the yacht instantly responded and blasted off an exhilarating reach. Catching waves and staying on them was a real hoot. With the three yachts literally feet apart on the same wave gave us all a healthy adrenalin rush. Like frustrated surfers we tacked back out to sea for more and more of the same.
Despite the varying sailor weights and abilities the three boats were remarkably equal in performance. There is no doubt that class racing in the new Liberties is going to be very close.
Rutland Sailability was founded in March 1995. At that time we owned one Challenger. In the next couple of years we obtained another two We also became the owners of a Drascombe Lugger and two Tricorn dinghies, but the world changed for us in 1997 when we heard about the Access Dinghy. A very kind sponsor gave us the money and we went ahead and imported the first 6 Access Dinghies into the UK. We now own 17 Access Dinghies ? 9 x Access 2.3fs, 5 x Access 303fs and 3 x Access 303 single seaters. In addition we have two privately owned 2.3fs registered with Rutland Sailability so as you can guess, on our sailing days our jetty gets very busy.
Some of our sailing members are very keen racers and travel all over the country to compete in the Traveller Series organised by the UK Access Dinghy Association. The Access 2.3 National Champion is a member of Rutland Sailability as is the UK Challenger Champion.
We provide people with a wide range of disabilities the opportunity to experience the freedom of sail on beautiful Rutland Water. In our Drascombe Lugger we sail with Special Needs Groups, which include deaf blind children and other groups from local Day Care centres.
We have been generously supported by many sponsors but most notably by the International Rotary Organisation. The local Rotary Clubs provide help on the jetty in addition to buying us lots of lovely Access Dinghies.
This year our membership has grown from 120 to 218. We can face the future of Rutland Sailability with confidence. The big event is the possibility that the World Championship sailed in Liberty will be held at Rutland Sailing Club in June 2005. We hope to see some of you there.
I report the story of an impressive come & try of this year. Masa of
Sailability Saitama introduced Access Dinghy to the group of gAdvance to
rainbowh of Lake Kawaguchi near Mt. Fuji.
They are a group of six families who have a child with disability. We organized the first come & try last June, and again on 2nd November. I do not forget the faces filled with surprise and joy of people. Families were also filled with joy seeing their children sailing with smiles on their faces, which they have been missing for the long time. Especially, they could not believe that one of the children, Yuki, has enjoyed the sailing. And they say they want to sail again!
Many tourists visit Lake Kawaguchi and enjoy fishing and marine sports everyday. They know that people with disability are being excluded from experience and pleasure of the Lake Kawaguchi. They are refused even from riding a pleasure boat for safety reasons. The Group want to build a small cottage which has the program of sailing by Access Dinghies in the future.
hAll people can enjoy the sailing regardless of their abilitiesh is important to them. Families hope that their children work and live there. I donft know if their plan will be realized or not. But it is my pleasure that I can help them.
Well, I just had to write about my most recent experience with the Access Dinghy 303 and why I am so committed to Access Dinghies and the concept behind them. But first a little intro. For the last 3 years ever since I graduated from college I have been pushing the newly formed Sailability Kootenai / Spokane club because in our area there is a great need for accessible waters sportsport, in particular sailing. It has been a hard road at times, and at times I would think, gWhat is the use? No one cares and no one feels it is important when we look at the things that are going on in the world.h But I changed my mind to the opinion, that just because other issues are pressing, does not mean we should give up the things we enjoy.
Just a few days ago a lady called me and asked if I could take her 88 year old father sailing, and of course I said yes! She indicated she had called one person after another in the area to take her father sailing but when they found out how old he was and that he was having some difficulties with his memory and walking they all would say they either could not accept the liability or accommodate him, much to her dismay
So last Saturday I went sailing with this gentleman on Lake Coeur df Alene and we had a great time! We sailed for about 3 hours, all the while on the lake the big sailboats just sat there with no wind. My companion was also amazed that we were sailing and no one else was. The beauty of the Access Dinghy is that you can sail close to shore, do nice quick tacks without jumping from one side of the boat, and not go so fast that you have to take a lot of room to sail. While I admit I love speed as I am an active multihull sailor, I also equally love to sail the Access Dinghy for its calm enjoyable manners. I just canft imagine a sailboat being more user friendly to anyone no matter their ability or challenges. I really wish I could express adequately to anyone reading this letter just how great the Access Dinghies are but you really have to sail one to experience the true beauty of an Access Dinghy.
On 26th October, after much hard work and effort from a lot of people, gJonathan Livingstone Seagullh, complete with ventilator compartment and electronic chin control was in the water and ready to go. It was probably gusting up to 12 knots ? not very much, but more than enough for me on my first time out. We skimmed along beautifully and I fully appreciated that, for the first time in more than twenty years, I was actually sailing a boat by myself, that I was independent, free and exhilarated. It was the best feeling in the world!
As we went upwind, the boat coped with the waves nicely. The water never approached the cockpit ? the Liberty is designed with deep and raised gunwales to keep the sailor dry in most conditions. As we swung around and the wind came from astern the jib set itself opposite to the mainsail. This served to keep the boat even more stable and it practically sailed itself. The Liberty is a great boat to sail. It has been designed to be simple and comfortable ? to be sailed by anyone and everyone, regardless of sailing experience or competence, for fun or competition. If you ever get the opportunity to have a sail, jump at it. If you have half as much fun as I did, youfll have the time of your life.
For making this wonderful experience possible, allow me to thank the boatfs sponsors ? the Australian Hotels Association, Vodafone and Huntsman. My heartfelt thanks also to Deirdre and Bob for their energy and optimism, to the Sailability SA committee and all the volunteers, to Michael from PQA and last but certainly not least, to Anne and our son, Sebastian, for putting up with my ongoing obsession to go sailing.
There were 28 sailors participating. The youngest 12 and the oldest 87. We had a sip and puff sailor competing against able-bodied, and winning. The national champion was Bryant from Miami sailing a 2.3. The 303 Champion was Chris Atkin. The Encouragement Award was given to Brandon Carden and Ernest Winegardner from Naples Florida. The Sportsmanship Trophy was given to Zak Ackley.
This was an outstanding regatta in many respects but what is shining right out is the success and capabilities of sailors using servo assist controls. Young Bryant Amastha from Shake-A-Leg Miami become the North American Access Dinghy Champion sailing servo assist. www.accessdinghy.org/results
Perched high on the hilltop overlooking Lake Geneva is the lovely little French town of Thonon. A five-minute ride down the steep hillside on the wheelchair accessible funicular railway finds you on the lakefs edge with quaint little restaurants and shops nestled amongst shady trees. Just 100 metres away is Thonon Yacht Club. It was here, in mid September, that 60 disabled sailors from four countries, gathered to compete in the 2003 International Access Dinghy Championships.
The Australian Team, consisted of 12 sailors and 10 family and friends accompanying them. On our arrival there was registration meeting of our hosts, especially the lovely Marie-Claude (Madame Sailability France) and members of the strong British contingent.
With the preliminaries over it was time to turn our attention to sailing. But just a minute, wherefs the wind? Alas, the postponed flag was already up and hanging lifeless against the flagpole ? there was not a breath. Oh well, there was plenty of time for it to pick up. In the meantime there were people to meet and new friends to be made.
Friday nightfs cocktail party arrived without a race being sailed. It was here, in a temporary tent enclosure on the lawn outside the yacht club, that we were officially welcomed by the Mayor of Thonon, and the Regatta was opened.
The wind for the rest of the weekend was pretty well non-existent with just a puff now and then, allowing a few races to be run. However just to be there, in such a lovely place, and to be able to chat with so many fellow sailors was, in part, compensation for the lack of action on the water.
Mary Anne Ireland (Australia) and Zoltan Pagan (Hungry) were named joint Access 2.3 Champions. It was with a touch of sadness that everyone gathered for the trophy presentation, for it meant the regatta was over and that we would soon be saying goodbye to many newly made friends, and to all the wonderful people who worked so hard to make the regatta a success.
Preparations are well under way for what is shaping up to be a fantastic event, bringing sailors together from four continents and eight countries.
With 50% of competitors being a Classification 1, they are
sure to provide a stunning display of sailing utilising servo assist controls
and demonstrating their competitive sailing expertise.
Held on the beautiful shores of Presque Isle Bay in Erie, Pennsylvania, the first Great Lakes Access Dinghy Regatta was a spectacular success! Sponsored by the Erie Adaptive Sailing Experience (EASE), the event began Friday evening, August 15, 2003.
With the sounds of bagpipes played from the deck of a sailboat, the First Lady of Pennsylvania gave a moving proclamation from the Governor, complimenting both the Junior League of Erie and the Bayfront Center for Maritime Studies (BCMS), founding partners of EASE, for this inaugural achievement. National and local dignitaries then kicked-off a celebrity race with the shot of a small cannon. The Junior League of Erie Exhibition Race which followed later that night was more fun than serious, but the official Great Lakes Access Dinghy Regatta held on Saturday, August 16 was the highlight of the weekend.
Saturdayfs weather was threatening when sailors with disabilities from Canada, New York and Ohio competed against local EASE participants. Children from Shrinerfs Hospital for Children and the Millcreek School District, riding with BCMS instructors, also participated in the fun. Cheered on by a crowd of spectators, the race committee managed to run five races before participants and volunteers enjoyed a picnic lunch at Wolverine Park. Safety being a top priority, the afternoon races were abruptly cancelled when a squall came in from the lake, but it didnft dampen spirits at the awards ceremony when each sailor received a participation award and the winning trophies were distributed. The young first place winner was so excited, he gbear-huggedh the perpetual trophy and refused to give it back!
All this couldnft have been possible without the EASE sponsors, the many community donors and volunteers, and a generous boat loan from the Baltimore Downtown Sailing Center. EASE is certainly proud to have brought such a wonderful event to the Great Lakes and the Erie Community, and for enriching the lives of the participants and volunteers of the first of what will become an annual Great Lakes Access Dinghy regatta!
STOP PRESS: The 2004 North American Access Dinghy Championships will be held at Erie in early summer, so start making your plans to join in the fun.