Nearly 100 disabled sailors attend UK’s first ‘truly barrier-free’ boating weekend

Last weekend, Wetwheels Solent and the Disabled Sailors Association (DSA) gave disabled sailors the chance to sail in the Solent, as part of the UK’s first ‘barrier-free weekend’.

Wetwheels, which recently announced it would be partnering with Pantaenius, worked with the DSA to host the inclusive event. Taking place at the already accessible Gunwarf Quays Marina, the weekend saw nearly 100 local, disabled sailors, and their families and friends, take to the water.

Sir Robin Knox Johnston opened the weekend on Saturday 14 May.

On offer were the charities’ fully accessible vessels: the sailing catamaran Scott Bader for a more sedate yachting experience, and the power catamaran Wetwheels Solent for a faster, more adrenaline-fulled experience.

The sailors were given a tour of Portsmouth Harbour before heading out onto the Solent.

“Portsmouth is certainly the only city in Europe, possibly the world, that can boast both a truly fully accessible sailing catamaran,” says Geoff Holt, director of Wetwheels Solent. “And a truly fully accessible power catamaran, both vessels regularly taking people with profound and complex disabilities to sea and both vessels providing the opportunity for those disabled people to take the wheel and drive the boat.”

Unfortunately, rain and thunderstorms curtailed trips on the Sunday afternoon but both vessels are available to charter for disabled guests throughout the year.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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