A life on the ocean waves is better for all

Rye Harbour Sailing Club has set a course dead ahead for a ‘truly inclusive’ sailing club that is accessible to all, which it hopes to achieve with the formation of a Sailability charity and support from the local community.

Rye Harbour Sailing Club (RHSC) is a Community Amateur Sports Club, a not for profit organisation run by volunteers. RHSC’s vision for the future is to offer inclusive sailing facilities for adults, children, and those less abled. RHSC Commodore, Caroline Wylson says that in order to achieve this the club needs to make some improvements.

“We have outgrown our existing shower and changing room facilities and in order to make the club truly inclusive new ones have to be built,” she said.

“The new facilities will be paramount in our plans to increase participation in sailing.”

Caroline says RHSC’s aim is to set up Royal Yachting Association backed RHSC Sailability charity with the sole purpose of getting less abled onto the water. She added: “This will mean we start to realise our vision to become a truly inclusive sailing venue.

“Sailing is one of the few sports in which able-bodied sailors and less abled sailors can participate on equal terms.”

The new facilities are estimated to cost in the region of £146,000 and RHSC is on course to achieving that target but Caroline says more still needs to be raised.

“We were awarded £75,000 from Sport England Inspired Facilities Fund and Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm donated £2,500. We have £20,000 of our own set aside for the project. Icklesham Parish Council has given a small grant to act as a gateway to the Rother District Council (RDC) Community Grant of £30,000 which we have applied for.

“We have £100,000 toward the project. The total cost is £146,000 - a shortfall of £46,000 that may partly be covered by the funding application to RDC being successful.”

RHSC has two fundraising events planned for September to which all are welcome.

There is a Pirate Fun Day on September 17 where there will be the chance to have a go at dinghy taster sailing from 11.30am, children’s games; tombola; face painting and giant bouncy slide; the sounds of The Rye Bay Crew Band; arts and craft stalls. BBQ and bar.

The club’s Annual Commodore’s Dinner with Auction of Donations will be held at The George in Rye on Friday September 30. Enjoy a 3 course meal and music from The Rye Bay Crew Band. A spectacular auction includes a day course in bread making from The Lighthouse Bakery, RYA Start Yachting/Sailing Skills Weekend an overnight stay at the Mermaid, Rye and much more.

Tickets, which must be booked in advance, cost £27. Email davidtownsley1@hotmail.co.uk or call 01797 223112.

Caroline says without raising the funds for the new shower block the club is restricted in the diversity of people that they can get out on the water. “If we cannot raise funds we will have to decline the offer from Sport England and return any other funding already received and the new shower block will not be built.

“Please do come to these fundraisers and help us provide the local community with facilities that will encourage everyone to come and enjoy the freedom of sailing.”

For further information or to donate visit: www.rhsc.org.uk