Sailability Wellington is proud to have operated in the Wellington region since 2002. Here's a brief timeline of some key moments in our history.

  • The Evans Bay Yacht and Motor club was challenged by a person with significant disabilities to provide them and others with sailing opportunities
  • Under the leadership of Warren Rankin and Jennifer Loader, and supported by American Express, Sailability Wellington was established following the philosophy of Sailability Auckland and other Sailability clubs worldwide
January 2003 
  • The Evans Bay Yacht and Motor club was challenged by a person with significant disabilities to provide them and others with sailing opportunities
2004 - 2006
  • The Sailability programme was expanded to two days a week at Evans Bay
  • Sailability Wellington supported the development of Sailability programmes in Nelson, Northland and Napier 
  • The first three Hansa 303 boat were purchased for Wellington 
June 2008
  • AXA insurance community fund enabled us to purchase three Hansa Liberty yachts, suitable for one person sailing
January 2009
  • Sailability Wellington sailors Annabelle Tye, Michael Jones and Alice Leslie competed at the Hansa Liberty world regatta on Auckland Harbour
  • Sailability Wellington helped to set up Rotorua Sailability 
December 2009
  • Sailability Wellington hosted the Hansa Liberty national competition in Lampton Harbour 
  • NZ Sailability sailors raced in the Australian Hansa national championships. Our crew included Alexander O’Connor, Michael Jones and Alice Leslie
  • Sailability Wellington was gifted the support boat 'Altrusa' by the Altrusa Club of Wellington
  • Sailability Wellington sailors placed in a number of races at the Hansa national regatta. Michael Jones won the Liberty class; Alexander O’Connor was runner-up in the Hansa 303 singles; Geneviève McLaughlin was runner-up in the Hansa 303 doubles with her companion crew Jane Thomassen; Annabelle Tye and Andrew May came third in Hansa SKYD class
  • Sailability Wellington expanded operations with a new base at Seaview Marina, sailing on Tuesdays
  • Sailability Wellington employed international Sailability expert, Orla O Regan, on a six month expansion development contract, during which time sailing consolidated at both bases, club membership expanded, and students from several Wellington colleges joined the club 
  • Negotiations commenced with Ngati Toa to secure their support for a new Sailability base at Porirua
  • Club members competed in the Liberty Class, Hansa 303 singles and Hansa 303 doubles at Taupo
  • Sailability Wellington's research and development team began work on ParAble / Whakatauki; intended to be the first purpose-built boat for sailors with disabilities
  • Exploratory work on a third Sailability base at Porirua harbour commenced in earnest
  • Sailability Wellington hosted the national Hansa regatta at Seaview, and the National Regatta Ability trophy for sailors with intellectual disabilities was introduced with the support of IHC
  • The third Sailability base opened at Porirua, with 'Altrusa' relocated as its support boat and the commencement of fundraising for a boat storage container.
  • With the help of Wellington Community Trust, 'Trusty' was purchased as the support boat for Evans Bay 
  • Supported by Ngati Toa, we jointly developed a plan for an ‘all tide’ jetty at the Titahi Bay Boating club in Porirua.
  • We developed, constructed, and fundraised for the jetty ourselves, a ‘quirky inversion’ of how things are often done
  • Sarah Dunkley won the Liberty Worlds in Medemblik, Netherlands
  • A major fundraising campaign was launched for the Porirua harbour jetty, in parallel with the continued operation at all three bases
  • Sailability Wellington supported the establishment of Sailability Tauranga
  • Sailing continued at all three bases while groundworks began on the Porirua jetty
November 2018 
  • A major opening was held for the new Porirua jetty, attended by local iwi and other local dignities, the minister of sport and - generously loaned by the Royal New Zealand Yacht squadron - the America's cup!
Photography by Simon Hoyle, Southlight
  • Sailability Wellington visited Samoa for the Pacific Island games, providing coaching and support for the development of Sailability in the Pacific
June 2019
  • A working prototype for the first ParAble yacht, constructed in wood, was launched 
  • The largest ever Hansa nation regatta was held at Seaview marina with 87 sailors with disabilities and a support crew of over 200
  • Sailability Wellington continued sailing in a limited capacity, as regulations allowed, despite the many Covid obstacles
  • A large group of Sailability Wellington sailors entered the Hansa national regatta in Taupo, with particularly strong performances from Darrell Smith and Graham Hook (first and second respectively in the 303 singles) and from Matthew Henderson and Darrell Smith and Toby Ireland & Graham Hook (first and second respectively in the 303 doubles)
November 2021
  • The first fiberglass production boat for ParAble was completed 
  • The second ParAble production boat was completed with financial support from a number of local community funds
  • Sailors and volunteers continued to return as they were able, following the easing of Covid restrictions
  • Sailability sailors and volunteers attended the Hansa 303 nationals in award winning form. Darrell Smith won the Kiwi Cup and first place in the singles and doubles with Stuart Nicols. Toby Ireland and Graham Hook won second in the doubles. Graham also won second in the singles
  • Sailability Wellington's new website is launched, generously supported by the Wellington Community fund
  • Sailability Wellington turns 21! We look forward to you joining us for the celebrations


Sailability history

Download a full history of Sailability Wellington, including a timeline of events from 2002 until today