Race yacht docks in to give children sailing taste
THE 54-foot Sydney to Hobart racing yacht Kayle has docked in Coffs Harbour giving children with disabilities a chance to set sail.
This year marks the 20th Sailors with disABILITIES adventure along the Queensland and New South Wales coasts.
Each year, more than 550 students get a chance to sail with the national charity. More than 11,000 children from regional areas have come aboard and sailed.
Kayle arrived in Coffs on Tuesday and will depart for Newcastle next Wednesday.
Sailors with disABILITIES patron and Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said it gave children "a real opportunity to experience sailing and the sea - and in doing so, change lives".
Onboard to assist the crew this year will be many members of the team which won the NSW Volunteer Team of the Year 2015.
"Children who come on board get a real sense of achievement that they carry with them long after the sail is over," Sailors with disABILITIES founder David Pescud said.
"It spills over into their daily lives back in the classroom where they try something they thought, before coming on the boat, was impossible.
"After steering and winding the winches on a 54-foot racing yacht, it becomes possible.
"My hope is that after a day out at sea they'll look out from the shore and ask, 'If I can do this what else can I do?'" David said.
This year's skippers will be Mike Muir and Kathy Veel, who have helped with Winds of Joy programs across the east coast and run weekly programs in Sydney.
Kayle has been customised to suit the needs of people with disabilities and can accommodate up to five wheelchairs.