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Growing Para Sailing in Thailand

by Phuket News 10 Jul 19:10 NZST
Disabled Sailing Thailand - S/V14 at Top of the Gulf Regatta © Guy Nowell

Disabled Sailing Thailand, a not-for-profit sailing programme that supports and promotes accessibility to sailing for people with disabilities, is seeking support in bringing four S\V14 boats – sailing boats designed specifically for use by people with disabilities – to Phuket.

Disabled Sailing Thailand have an established bases in Chonburi and at Ocean Marina Yacht Club. OMYC recently purchased eight S\V14s and are creating a regular sailing programme for people with disabilities who wish to experience the freedom and empowerment of sailing. Organisers are now looking to establish a base in Phuket and a para sailing programme with a fleet of S\V14s, and are inviting any business or individuals who wish to support the programme to contact them. “We are bringing down four S\V14s, including the Royal S\V14 built by Austhai Marine and donated by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to Disabled Sailing Thailand,” Phuket-based marine surveyor Peter Jacobs, one of the key driving forces behind Disabled Sailing Thailand, told The Phuket News. “We have bought a trailer to bring down the boats and for future transport but we still need to pay for the rental of the pickup, the fuel and the driver. “Additionally, we would like to change the graphics to the design created by Morgan Mahler, a Phuket girl now studying Animation in Belgium. In total, we are looking at around THB30,000,” he said.

The move is to create a regular sailing programme in Phuket for people with disabilities who wish to experience the freedom and empowerment of sailing, as has already been launched in Chonburi in collaboration with the Royal Varuna Yacht Club. Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya bought eight S\V14s that arrived earlier this year and were raced for the first time in a one-design class for Para Sailors at the Top of the Gulf Regatta, held 30 April to 5 May. Simpson Marine also paid for one, whilst the very first S\V 14, the fully tested and operational prototype dubbed “No. 1”, was paid for by Gulu Lalvani of Royal Phuket Marina. A second S\V14 was built in Thailand by Austhai Marine and donated to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Disabled Sailing Thailand recently held a charity fundraiser at the Bang Saray Beach Club in Chonburi province. More than 250 people turned out in support and enjoyed an afternoon packed full of fun activities that kept children and adults entertained alike. Stalls, games and live music kept the crowds entertained into the evening while a buffet provided by Bang Saray Beach Club ensured nobody went hungry, noted the organisers. Prizes for the tombola and raffle were donated by the local business and sailing community, and included tickets to attractions, hotel vouchers, meals in restaurants, sailing lessons, boating equipment and much more. One of the highlights of the evening was a live auction for a 14-foot kayak that was kindly donated. The bidding was fast and furious, and finished with more than THB10,000 raised and one happy owner of a new kayak. Funds raised on the evening totalled THB76,00 (USD2,400).

The Disabled Sailing Thailand team, volunteers, sponsors, members of the Thai and expat business community and friends were out in force to support the worthy cause. Also present were the Thai para sailors supported by Disabled Sailing Thailand at the Para Sailing World Championships in the US in September last year, and in Japan at the World Sailing Paralympic Development programme in October last year, and who continue to enjoy sailing in the Chonburi area.

“Disabled Sailing Thailand wish to thank everyone who supported the charity fund raiser at Bang Saray Yacht Club, and also all who have and continue to support Disabled Sailing Thailand in its mission to make sailing accessible for all,” the organisers said in the release.

For more information, visit www.disabledsailingthailand.org

To find out how you can support Disabled Sailing Thailand, email info@disabledsailingthailand.org

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