Magical day at the Sailability Super Sunday in Antigua

The 3rd annual Sailability Super Sunday was held on the 11th of March in Antigua and it was the biggest Sailability event to date. Sailability is sailing for the disabled. It is a very unique sailing activity in the Caribbean and the only organization on Antigua that offers recreational activity for people with a disability, with 100 disabled Antiguans coming to sail each week. The best of all: it’s free to everybody! The Super Sunday event is held each year to bring awareness to the Sailability program in a fun and social way but most importantly to raise money to pay the local Antiguan instructors.

Bob Bailey, director of the Sailability initiative in Antigua and organizer of the event was very happy with the outcome: “Each year the event is getting more well-known and this year we have definitely placed the event on the map. We had 250 people arrive in their Para buses and locally organized transport at the National Sailing Academy in Falmouth Harbour. Accompanied by a marching band everybody walked for refreshments to the Copper and Lumber, Nelson dock yard and then returned to the Academy for an amazing late afternoon of fun. We had face painting, bouncy castle, balloons, tug of war and Roger the Jester had everybody, including the adults, spellbound. Everyone had a good time and the smiling and laughing was magical. New this year was an activity on the water, the Super yacht Crew Challenge, a dinghy challenge around cans with six teams of 4 people participating. The crews all had a blast with the S/Y Juno crew winning the challenge. The top line local band 17 61 also came out to entertain, opening with the song “we are the world, we are the children”. The stage just filled with the blue shirts of the walkers and the microphone was passed around during the song, getting everyone emotional with tears everywhere.”

“All of this would not have been possible without our numerous sponsors and I would like to thank them all, with a special mention being made for Budget Marine who is by far our mayor sponsor. Due to their generosity we were able to raise enough money in one day to pay for a full year of wages for the instructors which will give us peace of mind and the continuity we are looking for.”

The hard work of Sailability Antigua has paid off as the World Sailing proposed to use Sailability Antigua as a center of excellence and to hold a Para Development Program there in February 2019. This is a workshop centered on the RYA Sailability model in which the World Sailing will invite nations from the Caribbean to attend. The purpose behind this is to try and get PARA sailing reinstated in the PARA Olympics for Paris in 2024. Any and all donations are welcome and Sailability Antigua is hoping to raise another US$40,000 in funding which will help to build and improve their Sailability operation. When finished, which they hope will be by the end of this year, they will really have something very special in Antigua. Please visit www.antiguasailability.org for more information or to make a donation.

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