Sailors with disABILITIES

Try Sail Day with The Ponds School

At Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD), one of the best things we do is our regular Try Sail Days. Our mission is to give children and young adults a rare and wonderful chance to head out into Sydney Harbour for a day on our racing boat. This week, we hit the deck with some of the kids, parents and teachers from The Ponds School in Riverstone!

Try Sail Days are always fun, and our SWD volunteer crews look forward to meeting a new group of children every week. We had a fantastic day for this school trip, with the weather clearing up and just enough wind to make it exciting. The volunteers, under our skipper Mark, were ready to head out at 11:00 with jokes and a few laughs! Our crew ranged from inexperienced hands like Jon to veterans of the Sydney to Hobart like our Grace!

The kids had a long trip on the bus from Riverstone to Watson’s Bay, but they were excited about getting into their Life Vests and setting sail. All six of the young sailors we had on board were eager and thrilled! Some tears started as we were under way, but the crew passed around a bucket of fresh water to play with, and it brought the smiles back.

The big highlight for several of the students was taking a hand at the helm! Everyone lit up as they turned wide circles under Mark’s watchful eye. We had the harbour almost to ourselves, and the children took a few turns steering and guiding the boat out into the waves.

Teaching the kids to always keep one hand holding on to the railings was important, but once everyone had learned we took them up to the bow one by one to feel the boat move and splash. You can feel the motion up there, with the wind in your face and the bow moving up and down!


A little excitement bubbled over with a brand new Nike shoe thrown overboard, but we soon fished it out of the water and tied it over the bow to dry!

Most of the boats we passed waved to the kids, and they loved identifying the speed boats and ferries, calling out to say hello.

The experience of the day wore the first time sailors out after a couple of hours, with more than one sleepy head nodding off on the way back to the dock. When we were chatting to the Teachers and Parents, the one comment that always came up was how surprised they were when they first heard about SWD. Every child, no matter what their abilities can take part in our Try Sail Days, and that opportunity is so important.

We loved taking the students from The Ponds out with us, and we're looking forward to having them back!

If you're interested in booking a Try Sail Day for your school or group, make sure you get in touch with us and register your interest on our website!


Thanks to The Ponds for making the trip down, and we’d love to see you again soon.