Schoolchildren have helped a local charity to launch a specially equipped boat that makes sailing possible for young people living with a disability.
Form 6 Pupils and staff from Cranleigh Preparatory School together raised more than £5,000, enough money to provide Frensham Ponds’ Sailability group with a brand new sailing boat.
Running on Water was named by pupil Lily M. and launched on Saturday by a group from the school. It was entirely funded by their initiatives, which included cake sales, busking, recycling and a summer fair, and saw teacher Dudley Manning run 500 miles in three separate events.
“We are hugely grateful to the staff and pupils from Cranleigh Prep for their support and generous donation to support the project,” said Kate Richardson, Chair of Frensham Ponds Sailability. “When I became involved with Sailability four years ago it had a large adult membership but very few youngsters and we were keen to encourage young people to take the next step and enjoy sailing as a hobby.
“We are now three years into the programme and have around 12 young people with a diverse range of disabilities sailing every Saturday morning. The addition of this new boat has meant that each youngster can sail independently within the group and compete for a weekly trophy.” Adult sailor members also use these boats at other times within the Sailability sessions.
Running on Water is a Hansa 2.3 boat that’s specifically designed for single-handed sailing for adults or children with a disability and is a type used throughout the World by Sailability groups.
The boat has a single sail that can be reefed (made smaller) in strong winds. It has a deep heavy keel, joy-stick steering, and a hammock or a bucket seat within the boat, which gives it a low centre of effort.
Unlike a dinghy used by able-bodied sailors, these boats will not capsize and do not require the sailor to move from side to side whilst sailing. Once hoisted into the boats and on the water sailors can compete as equals whether they are wheelchair users or not.
Stella Gravill, Deputy Head at Cranleigh Preparatory School, said: “We’re proud of how hard the children worked to raise the money to make this possible. The School supports a range of different local and international charities each year and it’s lovely to see what a difference it can make to groups like Sailability.”
Report and picture contributed by Cranleigh Prep School.