The reason we started Sailability at Piddinghoe pond is down to my daughter Jazz who has hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and a very keen sailor. This genetic progressive disorder meant that as her condition worsened as she got older, and she had to change boats so that she could still sail. She started sailing when 14 yrs and progressed from club racing to sailing in the laser youth nationals then in the Fireball, but after passing out a couple of times on the water!, moved to the 420 dinghy. We were trying to figure out how we could modify that boat so that she could keep sailing, when at the nationals we met Joff McGill from the RYA who introduced us to the world of Sailability, and para sailing, which was a massive boost for Jazz. She realised for the first time that she could keep on sailing competitively in para boats. However, there were no facilities close to home for disabled sailing, and we knew that the facilities at our local club would be ideal, and Jazz was determined that we should help bring sailing to the local disabled community.
Jazz was instrumental in getting Sailability recognition for Newhaven and Seaford sailing club in 2019 after applying to the RYA for recognition and getting the sailing club directors on board with the idea, so NSS was born. With the support of an RYA foundation grant we started with just two second hand Hansa dinghies and installed a hoist with the help of volunteers from the club and in 2020 started our first sessions to those requiring hoist access to enjoy sailing at Piddinghoe.
Since then we have gone from strength to strength, with the enthusiasm of local volunteers and Jazz in 2023 we were able to take out over 45 disabled sailors using 6 to 8 Hansa dinghies each week and we had over 25 volunteers helping out.
If you would like to know more about Jazz here is a short video made for the boat show a few years ago.