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Western Morning News

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

Volunteers and sailors are standing by ready to start preparing their new home

Dart Sailability boats on the river dart with disabled people onboard

Devon charity for disabled sailors quits home and launches £25,000 appeal after proposed fee increase and access restrictions at new Dart marina development

Charity Dart Sailability which provides boating activities for people with a wide range of disabilities has launched a £25,000 appeal to fund its relocation due to increased unaffordable berthing costs and access restrictions at its home of 23 years.

It is extremely grateful to all recent owners of Noss on Dart Marina for free berthing and services without which it could not have survived since 1997 during which time it has delivered over 10,000 sailing days to 600 disabled sailors. However, with no substantial discount or any financial assistance on offer from Premier Marinas at Noss the charity is now moving to MDL Marinas, Dartside Quay. Annual fees of £35,000 with only two days’ access per week with no access at weekends were proposed. The charity recognises Premier must recoup its investment on its £75 million development comprising luxury housing, a spa hotel and new marina. The charity’s sailing and boating activities take place only between May and September.

Relocation costs include over £10,000 for a ramp and pontoon so disabled sailors can access boats safely, the renovation of a Portakabin which will become a club house (£6,500), dinghy trollies (£1100), generator (£850), hoist (£300), clubhouse furniture (£750) and other significant moving costs including fuel tanks, tools, transport and ground works. In addition, it costs about £20,000 to keep the charity afloat annually.

Disabled sailors sailing on the river dart in Hansa dinghies

Principal of Dart Sailability Ian Wakeling says: “We desperately need financial help for these very significant relocation costs and our target is £25,000. Our sailors and volunteers get so much out of their sailing and activities and it is crucial that we deliver a really good summer programme of events. There is absolutely no doubt that our sailors’ mental and physical wellbeing and enjoyment are greatly enhanced by being out on the water and the freedom that sailing on the beautiful River Dart gives. The clubhouse will be a real asset for all our members, old and new.”

Volunteers on the river dart on support rib
Dart Sailability on the river with disabled members on board the NAB boat

Fortunately, MDL Marinas has welcomed the charity to Galmpton Creek and Dolphin Quay has offered some free moorings. Ian says: “We are extremely grateful to them for their generous support. We are absolutely committed to providing great sailing experiences and adventures for people with all disabilities and want to get going as soon as we can. Obviously times are very tough at the moment, but we would really appreciate it if people could support this very worthy cause so we can continue to deliver great experiences for our sailors who have a wide range of disabilities.”

Volunteers and sailors are standing by ready to start preparing their new home and moving boats as soon as lockdown is eased. It is hoped that operations can start as soon as possible. This will provide members who have a wide range of physical and learning disabilities with the opportunity to get back out on the wonderful River Dart. These opportunities include cruises in a specially built landing craft which can take a number of wheel chairs. Members can sail a range of purpose built and adapted sailing boats or learn to drive a power boat.

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