Crew of disabled sail to victory in 24-hour dinghy race

Alan Reid, operations chief at HHYC, prowls his territory (red shirt). Winerack joined businesses sharing profits for charity

A boat manned solely by disabled people won the 24-hour dinghy race at Hebe Haven, Kay Rawbone, co-founder of Sailability, said. The crew sailed 98 laps, a record because of the high winds.

The Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s annual public event was colourful with flags and banners flapping in the breezes and fun, even more than usual, because Halloween was part of it for the first time. The “village” of booths for charities, businesses and caterers was smaller — the heavy hand of the Lands Department. Nevertheless, “it was a lovely atmosphere,” Kay said.

Characters in seadog, pirate and ghost costumes wandered about. Music belted out of loudspeakers. Every district school was there.  Notable was the number of disabled people in their wheel-chairs, grinning and high-fiving. The marine police had a display about their Sea Safety Guardian Angels. Pup tents were pitched for over-nighters. Kids romped in the bouncy castle.

The Marine Police say their Guarding Angels programme has reduced accidents at sea

At sea 29 dinghies raced.  Kay said Sailability had six boats swishing around the course in the strong winds.  They took first and second places on handicap with crews taking turns on the water.

Sailability is a Sai Kung-grown charity, founded by Kay and her husband, Mike.  In their five years of operation, 600 disabled people have enjoyed fun on the water in their specially fitted boats, now numbering 24.


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