Yacht crew give disabled youth an experience like no other

NEW VIEW: A different perspective of sailing from the top of the mast of the yacht Kayle.
NEW VIEW: A different perspective of sailing from the top of the mast of the yacht Kayle. Contributed

The yacht Kayle, owned and built by David Pescud, has been in Gladstone over the past fortnight working with disadvantaged and disabled youth to give them an experience like no other.

Kayle is operated by charity group Sailors with Disabilities (SWD), a not-for-profit organisation committed to changing the way people with a disability regard themselves and changing society's perception of the disabled.

SWD uses sailing to build confidence and self-esteem of participants whilst learning the thrill of sailing in a team environment.

During their time in Gladstone SWD shared their passion for sailing with a large group of disadvantaged and disabled young people and their carers, including approximately 20 wheelchair bound individuals, as part of their SWD half-day experiences.

SWD volunteer skipper Gordon Smith said it wasn't all for the kids though.

"It is so rewarding for us to work with these young people and see the smiles on their faces as they do things they never thought they could or would," he said.

Smith also indicated that this year SWD would be entering Kayle into the Rolex Sydney to Hobart with a half-disabled, half-able-bodied crew.

Kayle was built in 2000 and is a 'purpose built for disabled people' 52ft Lyons Grand Prix offshore racing yacht capable of catering for up to five wheelchairs and is accessible to any disabled person.

Its five tonne bulb keel, 28 meter mast and seven meter boom, when not on the waters of the east coast call the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Rushcutter's Bay, NSW their home port.

The yacht holds an impressive number of race victories including numerous Divisional wins in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart, back to back wins in the Audi Sydney to Mackay Yacht race and is the current world record holder for a non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation of Australia with a time of 37 days and 1 hour.

This great cause has now departed Gladstone heading south to continue their Queensland campaign.

For more information about SWD see their website at http://www.sailorswithdisabilities.com

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