Chesil Sailability, our story
The Paralympics were held, with sailing hosted at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy
A small group of volunteers got together in February to look at setting up a Sailability group, inspired by the Paralympics
We did work on governance, finance, policies, safety, etc to develop Chesil Sailability
Our first sail with two borrowed boats was in July. Lord Coe visited us the next day to meet a true Paralympic legacy project!
We then ran sailing weekly sailing sessions with an initial cohort of 15 sailors through to September.
We ran weekly evening sailing sessions from April to September, with 49 people (inc. carers) sailing with us.
We have 4 Hansa 303’s.
The Project Zoe team raised funds for one of these, Spirit of Zoe, and for a RIB, RIB Zoe.
Mrs Shipley donated funding for 2 Hansa’s, and an anonymous contribution paid for the forth Hansa.
A Race Team is formed, and starts to go to events around the country
We ran a two day open event, the Hansa GP, in September, with a total of 25 participating sailors (inc carers) from across the country. For many, this was their first experience of sailing and racing on the sea.
We received funding for our ‘This Floats my Boat’ project, where we went out with our existing sailors talking to other people with disabilities about their experience. We took a Hansa 303 out with us to make it more relevant; we even took it into a pub for one event! This brought a good number of new people to sail with us, reinforced by peer to peer support. (Full project report available on request)
We were donated the funding for a Hawk 20 dayboat, and were donated a Squib, enabling us to provide different sailing experiences for the sailors.
We ran our weekly sessions from May to September, and by the end of the season, we had 69 people (including carers) sailing with us in the year. However, frequent strong winds during the season meant that we were not able to sail the number of sessions intended.
We piloted weekly afternoon sessions for groups, but we struggled with the extra commitment for volunteers.
We also ran a successful 3 day Hansa Nationals Event, with 25 boats competing.
We ran our normal weekly evening sessions from May to September, but dropped the afternoon sessions due to volunteer capacity.
By the end of 2016, we had 53 people (including carers) sailing with us in the year, with 161 individual sailing sessions.
Our sailing season runs from May to the end of September, but frequent strong winds during this period in 2016 meant that we were not able to sail the full number of weekly sessions planned. This was the second year in a row we had lost a significant number of sessions due to strong winds, which was a real concern.
We ran a successful 2 day Hansa event, with 15 boats competing, followed by a Hansa training weekend. The Race Team attended events away, including the Hansa Nationals at Carsington, and one of our team won in the double handed Hansa 303 class, so became the National Champions.
A key operational volunteer left Chesil Sailability in early 2017, and a new Trustee joined us as Chairman.
We restructured how we worked and how we ran sailing sessions. We developed a Duty Officer role to run sessions, working to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and with a strong support structure.
Although our sailor numbers dropped, we were able to run more sailing sessions than in 2016, and gradually built up our sailor numbers during the year. By the end of 2017, 46 people (inc carers) had sailed with us, for a total of 200 individual sailing sessions. We also trialed shore based sessions, with a talk or workshop on a sailing topic, when sailing was cancelled due to strong winds or other conditions (we lost 5 sessions overall, much less than previously).
Over the last few years, we had acquired some sailing boats we weren’t using, so consolidated back down to the 4 Hansa 303’s, Hawk 20 and Squib.
We supported RYA Sailability in running a 2 day national Hansa training event.
By the end of 2018, we had 75 people (inc carers) sailing with us, for a total of 305 individual sailing sessions. We ran our normal weekly sessions from May to September, but only lost 3 sessions due to weather conditions.
We continued to develop volunteers, their range of skills and flexibility, and our SOPs.
We secured funding for a second Hawk 20, which significantly increased our capacity.
We worked with RYA Sailability, WPNSA and Help for Heroes to run an Invictus Games assessment event, and then supported RYA Sailability in running a 2 day Hansa training weekend, and a further Invictus Games training weekend.
Our small Race Team, now with some young sailors, competed at events across the country
We piloted a daytime session for groups, to see if we can run more daytime sessions for groups next year.
We piloted an RYA feedback system called Sailactivity. Our feedback levels were as follows:
Wellbeing 4.66. out of 5
Connection with others 4.57 out of 5
Activity 4.28 out of 5
New skills 4.24 out of 5
Over our Tuesday sessions, we provided 331 sailing sessions for our 37 sailors, along with 64 sailing sessions for carers, which shows a steady increase from the 2018 season. We only lost 3 sessions to weather conditions, and one session due to an overlap with another event. We have had a strong core of sailors who come on a regular basis, demonstrating how sailing can become an important part of people’s lives.
We also ran 3 daytime sessions, for three different groups comprising a total of 43 sailors and carers. These sessions were run just using the Hawk 20 boats, enabling us to sail into Weymouth Bay if the weather is right. One of these sailors then joined us as a regular on the Tuesday sessions.
We were able to use a third Hawk 20, belonging to a volunteer couple who loaned the use of their boat for our sessions. This significantly increased our capacity, a great help.
Our session Standard Operating Procedures, and our three Duty Officers who run the sessions were independently assessed, both so we could benefit from external expertise, and to give us and our sailors confidence that we were working to high safety management levels.
At a national level, we were a partner in running the RYA Multiclass in July, the biggest accessible sailing event in the UK calendar. This brought 127 sailors from across the country to Weymouth & Portland to enjoy top level racing. This is the biggest event Chesil Sailability has ever been involved in, and was a great opportunity both to be a partner, and an opportunity to raise our professionalism at this type of event, which then benefits our normal sailing sessions.
Our small Race Team, a mix of young and older sailors, competed at events across the country
We secured funding for a 5th Hansa 303, both to provide extra capacity, and to enable some sailors to sail solo. We only received this Hansa at the end of the sailing season, so it had very limited use this year.
We continued with the RYA Sailactivity feedback system. Our feedback levels were as follows:
Wellbeing 4.8. out of 5
Connection with others 4.6 out of 5
Activity 4.8 out of 5
New skills 4.4 out of 5