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On the final day of our Hobart Outreach program in February, we welcomed Anglicare and Taroona High School on board. Winds of Joy lets students experience nature in a context from which they may often be excluded. Everyone on board gets to feel the wind on their face and the motion the boat rolling on the waves. For sensory positive students in particular, this is a special delight.
Thank you for visiting our website. We are excited to share storiesof success about our volunteers and people with disabilities.
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Grace Kennedy was born with Spina Bifida and has been confined to a wheelchair all her life. In 2013, at the tender age of 19, she crewed in one of the world's toughest ocean races - the Rolex Sydney to Hobart. Here's Grace's story in her own words. Read about Grace's
Across Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney on Feb 21, SWD volunteers ran 5 Winds of Joy programs, welcoming over 50 children with disabilities, their parents, teachers and carers on board three specially adapted yachts. This included St Ives High School in Sydney, Montagu Bay Primary in Hobart, Waringah Park School in Melbourne, Springvale Park SDS Mel, and Wairoa in Sydney. It was a spectacular success and, as you can see, the weather was kind across all three citiies, something of a miracle at this time of year. What has become clear is that students LOVE steering and grow in confidence when they do, taking on new challenges when they get back home and to school.
We LOVED having Southern Support School in our Winds of Joy sailing program in Hobart. The photos say it all. Winds of Joy is a sailing program in which young people with disabilities experience sailing for 3 hours in a safe space. Students gain skills—knot tying, tacking, and steering the boat—and work as a team to sail and take responsibility. This gives students a chance to show their abilities and grow with their peers, creating increased confidence and self belief even after they get back home and school.
The sun shone on Melbourne on February 27 when students and teachers from Sunshine and Springvale Park Special Developmental Schools sailed in a Winds Of Joy Program in Melbourne. The students got stuck into winching and steering and gaining a whole lot of confidence from being part of a team sailing on a large yacht on the Yarra...
Businesses, NGOs, community groups and volunteers from across Sydney gathered at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on Friday March 10 for the Sailors with disABILITIES inaugural #MakingWaves Regatta, the first regatta held by SWD in its 23 year history. Aiming to raise essential funds for children with disability and those who face adversity across Australia, the regatta included a dozen yachts donated by their owners and purchased by companies.
We celebrated the contribution of SWD's female volunteers for International Women's Day on March 8. In her own words, Julia explained why she volunteers with SWD: "Volunteering with SWD reminds me there is always a way. Never say, 'I can't.' SWD inspires us all to say, 'I can.' Everyone I meet through SWD inspires me, but my favourite thing is seeing the kids' faces light up when they realise they can too. It brings me joy."
The 2017 Australian of the Year (centre) is an incredible individual whose scientific research has helped restore mobility in a quadriplegic man in Australia. Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, a biomecular scientist, was named Australian of the Year on January 25 at an event at Parliament House in Canberra for his life work researching stem cells. His research has led to world-first treatment of spinal cord injuries.
SWD wishes to thank you for your support for the SWD crew in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) from the 26th – 30th December, 2015. Words of encouragement expressed in emails, messages, phone calls, and comments, likes, and shares on social media to SWD has been incredible and unprecedented.
We are thrilled with our Line Honours standing this morning, as Wot Eva has soared ahead through the night and is now sitting three places ahead of her position when we signed off yesterday! By now, the crew are roughly half way to Hobart, and spirits are high. The 2014 Race has been incredible so far, and the amazing messages of support that we've received over our Facebook have really spread good cheer!
As we move further into the trek, we'll start to see the pressure mount, with now around 8 Yachts having withdrawn from the Race. However, we are confident that the good ship Wot Eva will be sticking with it to the end, and we know our crew will keep working as hard as they can to bring her sailing into Hobart!
"It was an interesting race, some really lovely champagne sailing mixed with very fierce downhill speed stuff, Mark Thompson hit the top speedy of 26.6 knots, followed by Mr George Johnstone 25 knots"
- David Pescud
we are so proud of our 2014 crew who have sailed into the finish of the 2014 Sydney Hobart race in position 20 line honours to finish out an incredible year for SWD! What a great feeling for the whole crew, we couldn't be happier. We will be releasing photos as soon as we have them!
A massive THANK YOU to everyone who bought tickets and volunteered their time to make the Windcraft yacht raffle such a huge success.
David Pescud said he was very humbled by the support of the sailing community as he accepted the cheque for $174,550.73 on behalf of SWD from Peter Hrones of Windcraft.
As of today, our very first crowdfunding campaign, run through a partnership with Bendigo Bank's Let's Act initiative, has been successful! When we set out to fund a Try Sail Day to take a group of children out onto the harbour, we were hopeful that the generous support of our followers, fans and friends would be enough to reach our goal; we are thrilled that we exceeded that goal and have raised over 140% of our crowdfunding amount, meaning that we will recieve the pledged funds and we will have the chance to create new opportunities.
We wish to thank everyone who contributed, whether through making a donation or sharing information on our campaign. You are the true strength of SWD, and we can't overstate our appreciation!
Always dreamed of racing in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart, jump on board www.faceboat.org.au
What a great first day of the race! We've had some fine conditions through the night, and this morning has found Wot Eva sitting pretty in her standing at number 25! You can see the full stats here on the Rolex Sydney Hobart website!
The crew are powering on this morning, and we are anticipating a great day for sailing. We'll be posting some photos from the deck just as soon as we get them in, so stay tuned for those.
This year is the 31st running of the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.The race starts tomorrow, Saturday, 30 July, on Sydney Harbour at 1pm and Sailors with disABILITIES will be racing with a full crew of people with disabilities and able-bodied people on WOT EVA.
Would you be willing to help SWD win $10k in cash and $15k in audio and video conferencing? The cash will help us run more programs for children with disabilities, and conferencing will help us communicate with schools and volunteers across NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.
Sailing is always magic for me, there is some mystique. On some days, sometimes, some nights it’s extra special, for instance, when you‘ve got a nice light head breeze, with slightly cracked sheets on a darkened sea under a black velvet sky, highlighted by a thousand stars. So it was in this year’s Sydney to Southport. It was a beautiful race, beautiful conditions and Wot Eva performed very well.
We launch our inaugural Making Waves Regatta on Friday, March 10, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia at New Beach Road, Darling Point.
The Regatta will raise essential funds for children with disability and those who face adversity across Australia, adding to the 44,000 children who have come on board SWD programs over the past 23 years.
Famous ocean racers and more than 200 professionals...
We've got some great video content from one of our supporters who was on the ground on our launch day!
Check it out after the jump and you'll be able to see some of our crew and our boat on it's way into the race!
We would really like to take this opportunity to thank the team at Xylem for their support, as well as all of our other sponsors, donors and backers who have made our work possible throughout the leadup to the Sydney Hobart.
This interaction [on Winds of Joy] with school support staff was very positive and allowed staff to continue to build a relationship based on trust, security and understanding that has continued all year. She has been at school every day since and has now become a valuable mentor to two other students with disability. Sailing allowed her to succeed and also to feel valued.
With the 2014 Sydney Hobart Race behind us, we are starting to enjoy the amazing photos, videos and content created by our intrepid crew throughout the voyage! We'll be posting these more and more as soon as we get them, but for now the star of the show is crew member Brett Whiteley's Go Pro Camera, which captured some incredible visuals of the race and the people who got us out there!
Check them out after the jump, and as always we'd love to hear your thoughts!
Sailors with disABILITIES embarks on its 22nd Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day. The crew of 16 on Kayle, skippered by John Whitfeld, trained throughout 2015 under John's skilful and encouraging guidance. According to the official race site, "the 628 nautical mile course is often described as the most gruelling long ocean race in the world, a challenge to everyone who takes part."
Australia's Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch won SKUD18 gold on the penultimate day of racing at the Paralympic Sailing Competition with a race to spare. SWD congratulates Dan and Leisl on their fantastic victory in the Paralympics. Liesl sailed with SWD in the 2009 ROLEX Sydney to Hobart yacht race, and has proven once again, that disabled are able.
SWD was excited to see people with disabilities (who happen to be sailors) and sailors (disabled and able-bodied both) making waves at the NSW Sports Awards. Congratulations to our own SWD Founder, David Pescud, for receiving the Distinguished Long Service Award for his 24-year contribution to Sailors with disABILITIES. Pescud was in great company for the evening's recognition of sporting achievements in NSW.
SWD is proud to announce its 2016/2017 partnership with the ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation. As part of this, SWD will be the recipient of funds raised in the Foundation's Art Union draw. You can buy tickets to win great prizes in the draw here: click here to go to SWD's official prize page.
"The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is pleased to announce Sailors with disAbilities (SWD) has been officially endorsed as a preferred charity of the Club. While the CYCA and SWD have had an informal relationship of support for many years, the official partnership provides SWD with guaranteed resources and assistance which will give stronger foundations to its programs and planning."
- Kristi Foster talks about the trip up to Southport
- Harry Atkinson describes his four nights on faceboat
- David Pescud describes the effect of childrens' laughter
- Steve Emmett wonders if Dicpario was on board and finally the
- Captain Mark Goode made us all smile and think a bit deeper with his Captain's log updates
We need to raise $12,000 to fix the keel on our main program boat, Kayle, and we are hoping you may be willing to help us do that. Kayle runs Winds of Joy and Winds of Change programs in Sydney, northern NSW, Queensland and Hobart for over 2100 children each year.
We need you! Sailors With disABILITIES will be back in Hobart in 2017 running Winds of Joy programs from 15th-28th February. This program offers children with disabilities and disadvantaged people an opportunity to enjoy the freedom, teamwork and adventure of sailing.
To celebrate the first Winds of Joy sailing program for children with disability in Hobart, a major milestone in the history of the organisation, today Sailors with disABILITITES is launching a unique, digital archive of its first 21 years: 21 Years of SWD.
Xylem Australia, a key sponsor of SWD, came on board twice this December and new and old faces and friends at Xylem experienced SWD’s work first hand. Xylem’s support is having a direct impact on making Australia a better place for its youth. This year alone SWD worked with over 2,231 children in its Winds of Joy programs across Australia.
We wish to thank the Cruising Yacht Club Of Australia who partnered with SWD and allowed us to host the Regatta in the club at Rushcutters Bay on March 10. We wish to thank yacht owners who donated their boats to be hired by companies that raced on board on the day.
Launching today, ten schools and over 250 children with disabilities will take part in our annual Hobart Outreach Program. This is the second year it has been held, with WOT EVA carrying children in wheelchairs. All children have a chance to steer the boat, wind the winches, help lift and lower the sails.
SWD founder David Pescud says this is often a once in a lifetime experience for these children.
After a hard campaign, we have almost reached our goal of raising $1500 through the Bendigo Bank's Let's Act initiative.
We are currently sitting on $1094, just $406 away from getting over the line. We know that our supporters believe strongly in our mission, so we are asking that everyone show that support by sharing the link to our project, spreading the word with their friends, or even providing just a gold coin donation themselves by jumping onto the Let's Act website!...
Mim Kane, our Treasurer, travelled to the Gold Coast to collect an award for Sailors with disAbilities from The Spinal Injuries Association of Qld.
The award was for "The Best Sporting Facility". This was in appreciation for the great days of sailing enjoyed by many of their members. Spinal Injuries Association of Queensland cannot wait for the boat to return to Qld next year and they are all lining up for another sail.
The highly coveted Australian Wooden Boat Festival returned to Hobart on the 6th of February. The Wooden Boat Show helped us build relationships, partnerships, school connections and volunteers to help us bring the Hobart Outreach Program to reality after the Sydney to Hobart this year.
SWD was excited to host ABC News Tasmania on board WOT EVA on the 16th of February in Hobart. Thank you ABC News 24, ABC News Tasmania in Hobart for telling the story of these amazing children and volunteers sailing in the 2017 Winds of Joy Hobart Outreach Program. This program will run until 28 February and we will return next year to Hobart and run the program again.
"Yesterday, we participated in the Sailors with disABILITIES Winds of Joy program in Melbourne. We were a group of 9 students and 5 staff from Yarrabah School. We would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to our fantastic crew, Paul, Jeff, Simon, Cameron, Judi, Lisa and shore-based, Richard."
SWD began in 1994 when David Pescud heard a radio interview suggesting a disabled team enter the 50th anniversary Sydney to Hobart Race that year. David’s yacht “Carpe Diem” was a 16.2m Adams-Radford design. Over the following years Carpe Diem was customised and optimised with the help of the Adams/Radford team to become one of the most competitive yachts on the East Coast of Australia. RIP Joe Adams
We wish to thank everyone who donated to our appeal to fix Kayle's keel. All donations, large and small, contributed to an excellent outcome for SWD and will mean we can run programs for children again as soon as possible and, hopefully, join the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race at the end of 2017.
Thanks to our friends at St George, SWD were the grateful recipients of a cheque for over $30,000 from the St George Foundation. Check out their article around the Sydney Golf Classic in August on the St George Foundation's Facebook Page for more information and photos from this event.
This experience has been a wonderful for the kids from our school. Traditionally they’re very afraid to challenge themselves for fear of failure. I cannot believe how willing they’ve been to meet this challenge head on and it’s corresponding to different areas of their lives.
Sean has a pretty difficult home life and has traditionally had a lot of anger problems. He’s developed control and learned so much about himself since Winds of Change. He is walking away from situations that he would have taken on head on—confrontations...
SWD launches its Northern Campaign on July 21, an outreach program for children with disabilities. This is an annual effort that takes the yacht, Kayle, and SWD volunteers who crew it from Sydney to Rosslyn Bay, Mackay, Southport and Coffs Harbour during the next 8 weeks. Called Winds of Joy, SWD runs this same program every year, as we have for over 18 years.
Postgraduate Physiotherapy students from the University of Melbourne, in partnership with SWD, this year completed a community health project conducting a health needs analysis (HNA) of SWD's “Winds Of Change” on-water program.
SWD is excited to announce that we have a permanent office for the first time since the organisation was established 22 years ago, thanks to d’Alboras Marinas. The office, located at 1B New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay, will be staffed most of the time throughout the week by SWD staff and volunteers.
"They loved it. It allowed the frightened children to push themselves in a nurturing environment. They didn't see crew as people with disabilities and they don't see themselves as people with disabilities. It was nice for them to see people with disabilities doing exciting stuff and for that to be normal. It was very empowering."
At 11:52:22 on 2 August, the SWD crew on WOT EVA finished the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in 22nd position overall and 8th on PHS. It was an achievement to finish.
Sailors with disABILITIES is launching its first Winds of Joy program in Hobart tomorrow, Monday 15th of February. Running for two weeks until February 26, Winds of Joy Hobart will give young people with disability in Tasmania the opportunity to experience the joy of sailing in a session sailing on board Kayle, a yacht designed especially for people with disabilities, able to accommodate up to 5 wheelchairs at a time.
Verney Road School traveled to Sydney by bus and plane and stayed for a week during which they came on board SWD Sydney’s Winds of Joy program. Daniel got into everything from steering to bow work, including furling the head sail. He really did a great job on the boat from bow to stern.
When Greg Pugh was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis six years ago, he lost his job and his marriage. Enduring some truly harrowing emotions, the 49 year-old entered a bleak period in his life, marred with uncertainty.
Having minor experience in sailing, Greg decided to join ‘Oceans of Hope’, a sailing program for people with MS. Soon after, he found himself at ‘Sailors with Disabilities’, and has since become one of our greatest volunteers.
Early March, SWD travelled to Melbourne to engage and interact with some exciting new people and meet some new faces. Along with making some strong connections, the team has been running pilot programs aboard the yacht, Kayle, for Victoria’s many extraordinary children.
The trip has been a long time coming, with many schools from Melbourne expressing interest in climbing aboard. This promptedSwd volunteers and crew to travel to Melbourne and run programs for three weeks, with the hope of establishing a permanent presence in our new base at Port Phillip.
So many people love the faceboat project and wanted to tell the story behind their photo that we decided to add a new element to faceboat - an online community.
Congratulations to all the participants who completed the recent Sea Safety and Survivial course.
Just a reminder that you are all invited to join us for SWD team drinks THIS SUNDAY at RANSA from 4-6pm.
We had this motley crew who have come a long way over the last four months. Now we have a good team of yachtsman. We have put our boat back together. Those who have stuck around have put themselves and the team back together. We were having a drink of lemonade at Southport Yacht club and I could not help but feel proud of what we had achieved.
Volunteers are the backbone of SWD - without you we can't run our programs. It's that simple. Just this month alone Try Sail, Winds of Change, Solider On, Northern Campaign preparation and Winter Series racing are all happening thanks to volunteers.
Read Sharon's story about how voluteering with SWD has offered her a new path in life.
SWD's crew have now left the dock in Wot Eva and are preparing to begin the Sydney Hobart 2014 race! We will keep you updated right here on the website with photos, news and updates as we go, so make sure you keep on checking back! If you want to share messages of support to the crew, you can do so on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages!
Lastly, to find out more information about Wot Eva, click here!
It was fantastic to see so many of you at the Sydney Boat Show.
The SWD stand was busy for the full 5 days with many people jumping on board the raffle prize 'Amazing Grace'... standing behind the wheel... and imagining their new lifestyle as the lucky winner.
We heard lots of comments from ticket buyers along the lines of...
"It's great to think that my $100 donation will give 2 kids with disability the opportunity get to go out sailing for the day. And if I win a yacht as well...even better!"
SWD is proud to announce a partnership with the ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation. As part of this, SWD will be the recipient of funds raised in the Foundation's Art Union draw. You can buy tickets to win great prizes in the draw here: click the link to read more.
We have launched the Wot Eva! Our Flickr gallery is online now, so you can check out some photos of our Boxing Day launch for the Sydney Hobart! You can see some of the incredible photos of the day in our online photo album right here! Alternatively, there are more photos just after the jump, so click Read More!
Mark your support of all people with disability today by jumping on board faceboat and uploading your photo, you will be supporting over 3,000 kids with disability and disadvantaged youth sailing with SWD every year. Only 5 days to go to get your face on the hull of Kayle racing in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart there is no better day to jump on board.
Team Windcraft have just announced their second yacht raffle this time in support of SWD.
Read Brett Whitely's story of recovery a few short months after losing his arm and leg.
Details of how to enter the yacht raffle and how to support SWD through the Dick Smith Foundation
In our August news you'll read about volunteer awards shortlist nominees, interviews with volunteers, Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race story, ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation partnership and winning NSW Minister's Volunteer Management Award for a state sporting organisation.
There are lots of videos of Sailors with disABILITIES' boats and projects on our Youtube channel “swdsailing” for your viewing pleasure. Click here http://www.youtube.com/user/swdsailing to view our new Youtube Channel or read more to view. We hope you enjoy what you see...
Sponsor a boat, have a fabulous afternoon AND help SWD.
12-15 staff can enjoy lunch at the CYCA and racing on Sydney Harbour. Sponsors are encouraged to dress crew in polos, caps, spray jackets to generate their corporate feel for the day.
A cool idea for an end of year corporate event - you can even sponsor 2 boats for some in-house competition.
Please reference SWD in your enquiry to the regatta organisers or email email@example.com for more information.
The Windcraft Raffle was drawn at the CYCA on 14th September.
The winning ticket was number 1452 - John Scott from Sydney.
John wins a Hanse 345 yacht worth over $250,000.
A huge thanks to everyone who bought a ticket and to Windcraft for supporting SWD with this hugely successful fund raiser.
We are excited to be gearing up for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race!
Preparations are under way as we approach the Boxing Day launch, and our crew are slotting in their last training sessions before the race. As we move into one of the busiest times of the year for SWD, we know all our supporters will be eagerly awaiting details of the race and the voyage. You can check out our full coverage of the lead up to the race and the latest from the crew right here!
We will be announcing our full crew roster on Monday, and with it we will start to share some of their inspiring stories.
Notice of Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of Sailors with disABILITIES will be held on Sunday 14 December at 5pm at Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association (RANSA), New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay.
A Christmas Party for SWD Members, supporters and family will follow from 6pm - 8pm.
To participate in the meeting (vote and/or nominate) you must be a current Financial Member of SWD. To renew your Membership, please login to the website with your username and password.
This week is your LAST CHANCE to support SWD by entering the Windcraft Raffle.
Your $100 raffle ticket means 2 kids with disability get out sailing for a day.
And you never know you could win a Hanse 345 yacht ready to sail away with 12 months Club Marine insurance.
The proceeds from every ticket sold go straight to supporting SWD's programs.
I can say without doubt we had a win with every single one of them. The smiles we coaxed out of the kids and their teachers/carers made the personal and group effort very worthwhile. In all my time with SWD, recently and in the past, I have never felt that I and the crew have achieved so much success with a diverse range of youngsters with disabilities.
A few people have asked me about Port Stephens and how are we situated. I will try to pull together the answer for you all in a few words.
The first thing sailing on WOTEVA has to be FUN. We have to sail well as a team. I think we want to sail with a rock star team not a bunch of rock stars.