‘Fulfilling and humbling’ taster day for 100 disabled people at Mylor Sailing School in Cornwall
A SAILING school owner has described a taster day which gave 100 disabled people the opportunity to get on the water as a ‘fulfilling and humbling experience.’
Even before the open day at Mylor Sailing School began on Saturday, owner Tracey Boyne said she was “overwhelmed” by the demand for places across the five workshops.
Now she is even more determined to take her project to the next stage and secure enough funding to set up a social enterprise which will make the pleasure of learning to sail a reality for disabled people across the county.
“The idea for this open day was to find out the demand for a disabled sailing school,” said Miss Boyne, from the sailing school near Falmouth.
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“You can’t apply for funding until you can prove demand and we have been completely overwhelmed.”
One of the main attractions was the chance to be taught by John Robertson, who has represented Team GB at three Paralympic games.
The volunteers and instructors, including Mr Robertson, took out three large sailing dinghies and three powerboats in each of the taster workshops.
During the open day, staff gathered information to see how many of them wanted to learn to sail on a regular basis in the future.
“It was a really great response,” said Miss Boyne. “The day went smoothly, but it was just not what I expected, to get that many people there and for so many people wanting to do it.
“It was very fulfilling. I was pretty choked up watching them all go out on the water, and to hear some of them coming back saying how it was the best thing they had ever done.
“I also had some tear jerking emails after the day saying they can’t wait for the club to get going. It was very humbling.”
Miss Boyne’s next step is to apply for funding to meet her target of getting the new school, the Mylor Sailability Group, up and running by March.
“Sport England has just opened up new streams of funding for disabled support,” she said. “We are going to apply for those.”
“We have already been offered funding from the West Cornwall Youth Trust (WCYT) and Cornwall Sports Partnership (CSP).
“But the big funding from Sport England will take a bit longer.”
Miss Boyne stresses that a project like this is not possible without help.
On the open day she had 15 volunteers , support from CSP’s Steve Hillman, WCYT’s Nick Fletcher and Roger Graffy, owner of Mylor Yacht Harbour, whose help was “never ending.”
“And John Robertson has just been such a great inspiration for disabled people,” she said.
People as far afield as Penzance and Bodmin came to Mylor on Saturday.
Apart from Stithians Lake, there is nowhere else in Cornwall which offers disabled sailing instruction.