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Next week, Kayle and a crew of SWD volunteers are heading north to Queensland and northern NSW to run Winds of Joy for over 500 children with disabilities over the next two months. Winds of Joy gives children and youth with disabilities, who may otherwise never experience the thrill of sailing, the opportunity to spend a day aboard 54-foot Sydney-Hobart racing yacht, Kayle.
Kayle is custom-designed and ergonomically sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities and it can accommodate up to 5 wheelchairs.
This year marks SWD’s 20th adventure north. Annually, more than 550 students sail with SWD and over 11,000 children in regional areas have come on board and sailed since SWD first headed north.
“Winds of Joy in northern NSW and Queensland is an opportunity for children with disabilities in regional areas to step outside comfort zones,” SWD Founder, David Pescud, said. “Children who come on board get a real sense of achievement that they carry with them long after the sail is over. It spills over into their daily lives back in the classroom where they try something they thought, before coming on the boat, was impossible. After steering and winding the winches on a 54-foot racing yacht, it becomes possible.”
On board to assist and crew will be many members of the team which won the NSW Volunteer Team of the Year, 2015, an enthusiastic crew of disabled and able-bodied volunteers, many of whom have sailed the Sydney to Hobart race. The crew engage with students and carers, ensuring everyone gets attention and the chance to steer. This year’s Skippers will be Mike Muir and Kathy Veel, both of whom helped in past Winds of Joy programs across the east coast and run programs, weekly, in Sydney.
“My hope is that after a day out at sea they’ll look out from the shore and ask, ‘if I can do this what else can I do?’” said David.
You can get involved volunteering here: http://sailorswithdisabilities.com/volunteering-new
Winds of Joy up north in 2016