Sailability Sailing

Sailing is a fantastic sport for people with disabilities. It enables you to take control of the dinghy and feel independent; just enjoying the scenery, learning a new skill, or even competing in races. We appreciate that this can be quite daunting, and will help you to develop at your own pace, using suitable equipment, and sailing with experienced sailors if necessary. It is also great for families who want to find an activity that they can all enjoy together.
You don’t need to have sailed before, we can provide training through the Sailability Achievement Scheme and Certification for Disabled Sailing and RYA level 1-3 qualifications. Whitefriars Sailing Cub is an RYA Training Centre.


Our boats are different to more conventional dinghies; some have more supportive seating that keeps the sailor in the centre of the boat. This is especially useful for people with little or no trunk control. For sailors who can still move from side to side, we cater for this as well.
The boats are also very stable and difficult to capsize, in fact some of the fleet have a heavy keel which mean that the boat cannot capsize.


grandad and grandson

three in a boat

If required, electronic systems may be available to control steering and for managing the sails. We are a developing club and will endeavour to source appropriate equipment to meet the needs of our committed sailors once specific needs are understood.
Some of the boats can be sailed by two or more people, making it great for families, for more sociable sailing, or for those who need more support.

Facilities and equipment

We have a large purpose built pontoon which is accessible and stable for wheelchairs, or for those with walking difficulties. One of our two hoists is securely fitted to this, the other is situated on the shore, but reaches out to comfortably position sailors in the dinghies. We can provide slings, but if you have your own that you’d prefer to use, that is no problem.
The club has a supply of buoyancy aids that you may use if you wish.




Throughout Sailability sessions there are safety boats on standby, manned by experienced volunteers, just in case. There is always a Senior Instructor on site at all Sailability sessions.
Most of the clubhouse and grounds are wheelchair accessible, and we do have a loo for the disabled. Unfortunately we do not have specially adapted changing facilities.
The clubhouse and sun terrace sits in the middle of a peninsula, providing panoramic views of the lake. There is a fully fitted kitchen, and snacks and drinks are available. The club has an active social calendar, including regular bbqs.


Sailability @ Whitefriars welcome groups, but do have a limit on how many can be catered for over the season. It is possible that concessionary rates might be available.
If you have a group that you think would benefit from sailing, then could you please complete this form, or contact David Durston


Our volunteers are here to welcome you to our club, to put your mind at rest about any concerns that you have, to understand your needs, and to ensure that you have a rewarding experience of sailing and want to come back.
Many of our volunteers are experienced sailors, and have been working with people with various levels and types of disability for many years. If you require hoisting, they are there to help you position the sling and to guide you into your seat.
If you need care, it is necessary to bring them with you to help with dressing, medication and any other personal needs. Our volunteers will still provide advice and assistance where required, for example buoyancy aids.


Initially some of our volunteers will sail with you, unless you already experienced and have suitable equipment that meet your needs. They will help you to get a feel for the wind, and explain the broad principles of sailing.
Sailors attending Sailability sessions will be encouraged to embark on the Sailability Achievement Scheme and Certification for Disabled Sailing. Once confident, and matched with suitable equipment, you will be free to enjoy sailing independently, or with others if you prefer.
Whitefriars Sailing Club are a recognised RYA training centre. Through this you could achieve higher levels of competency, learn how to race, or even become an Instructor, or Coach yourself.

What you need

You don’t need to buy expensive sailing kit.
All you need is sensible footwear eg training shoes, and outdoor clothing which is appropriate to the conditions. In addition, if it is hot and sunny, bring a sun hat and sun cream. If it looks like a rainy day, bring waterproofs if you have them. Some disabled people struggle with temperature control, if you do, dress sensibly.
If you have a sling that you prefer to use, then please bring that with you too.
We take your safety very seriously, so on your first visit you will be asked to complete a form to gather basic information about your condition and medication. So come prepared.


For more information please contact:

or David Durston 07745 504482

or email either of us at

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