ROUND the World disabled sailor Geoff Holt has inspired many other disabled people to get on the water.
So it was apt that as a member of New Forest and District Sailability he officially launched its new boat, Freedom, at the organisation’s base at the Spinnaker Sailing Club’s lake in Blashford.
The craft is the club’s latest Access dinghy and is one of nine dinghies sailing on the lake. The funds were raised mostly through a street collection and a donation from Sainsbury’s in Ringwood.
Chairman of New Forest Sailabilty Eric Blyth said: “The boat is called Freedom, which is aptly named as Sailability gives disabled people the freedom that they may not otherwise have.
“One of the club's sailors, Keith Harris, is a true inspiration as he sails the boat using his tongue. He is a wonderful example of what Sailability can bring to people's lives. He is training for the Paralympics in 2016.
“Our group is becoming more and more popular.”
However, Mr Blyth told the Journal that there was no room for complacency.
He said: “Our volunteers are wonderful and are the lifeblood of this organisation. We couldn't operate without them. We always need more volunteers to come forward to lend a few hours each week.”
The Sailability group currently has 140 disabled sailors and more than 60 volunteers.
Anyone, regardless of their level of disability, can be part of the sailing at the club.
The season starts in April and finishes at the end of October, during which time the group meets and sails every Tuesday and Friday.
If anyone would like to volunteer, Mr Blyth can be contacted on 07747 787289 or on 02380 867 438.