Sail with us
Who can sail?
Almost anyone can sail or learn to sail - a disability may shape how someone sails, it doesn’t determine whether they can.
Sailability Wellington accepts sailors from around ten years of age and upwards – our oldest active sailing members are well into their seventies. Sometimes it’s also possible for siblings and other family members to have a short sail or to go out on the support boat.
Accommodating all forms of disability
Our facilities are very accessible. At all sites, we have ramps, lifts and hoists. In some locations, we have indoor facilities that include wide doors and purpose-built changing rooms. Sailors needing personal care while onsite should bring a support person with them. Family members, friends and support people are always welcome.
Compete with Sailability
Some of our sailors have learned to sail and want to start competition sailing. We encourage this and have a race squad for our more experienced sailors to join. We hold club racing, as well as regional and national events. Many of our sailors have excelled - Sarah Dunkley even won an International Hansa Liberty Championship.
Most competitive sailing happens on Saturday or Sunday, usually at Seaview or Evans Bay. We have also often competed in the Titahi Bay Boating Club winter series. If you wish to join the Race Squad, please let the Sailability Wellington CEO know.
Sailability Wellington has an extensive set of safety protocols, update regularly and approved by Yachting New Zealand.
We constantly monitor the weather conditions to ensure it is safe to sail. We will cancel sailing if the weather is unsuitable including part way through a sailing day if necessary.
We also have a volunteer handbook that sets out the important information connected to the different roles and activities.
Many of our volunteers and sailing members are qualified in first aid.
A typical sailing day
Time. We ask sailors (and any caregiver or whanau) to arrive about ten minutes prior to their pre-arranged sailing time to check in and get prepared.
Preparation. Each sailor is greeted by the Purser for the day, who can answer any questions and provide any reassurance needed.
Life jackets. All sailors will be helped to put on a snug-fitting life jacket. This is compulsory – no jacket, no sailing. Any caregivers or whānau wishing to enter the dock or support boat must also wear a life jacket.
Clothing check. Our volunteers will check each sailor is wearing suitable clothing for the conditions. Remember that it is always a little colder on the water than on land.
Mobility. We use a crane and sling to gently assist sailors with mobility issues in and out of the yachts. Our volunteers are trained in its use. Sailors in wheelchairs must remove any restraining staps prior to going onto the jetty. This can be unsettling for some sailors / caregivers initially, so we are happy to talk you through the reasons behind it. This is an essential and non negotiable safety procedure.
Sailing buddies. Sailors are buddied with a skipper and they sail together for around 30 minutes, longer if time is available.
Boats and getting wet
Our boats are specially designed for stability. They don’t capsize unless you try very, very hard – which we don’t!
You don’t need any special clothes but it is important to dress for the weather. In hot weather, this means sun protection. In colder weather, this may mean putting on a waterproof jacket and warm clothes.
Sometimes you may get a little wet with water spray so it’s always a good idea to bring a change of clothes, including footwear.
We provide lifejackets and any equipment you need on the water, so you don’t need to buy anything.
If transport to sailing is an issue, please contact us and we may be able to help.
You can also monitor the weather forecast in the leadup to the day’s sailing – try Metservice, Windy, Windfinder or Predict Wind. And remember that forecasting weather is not an accurate science!
How to begin
If sailing seems like something you or someone you know may enjoy, contact us to arrange an initial sail. This will give you the chance to experience what’s involved first-hand.
If you wish to continue, please phone our CEO who will explain about availability and any waiting list, and guide you to complete a membership form.
Email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you’ve paid the annual membership fee, which we keep relatively low through fundraising and sponsorship, sailing can begin.
Download our fully editable application form here
A copy of the Sailability Wellington operating procedures
Contact us to know more
If you feel like Sailability may be a good fit for you or you wish to know more, please contact us
– email@example.com or call 04-472-4546, or click the button below.