Sailability Antigua, a not-for-profit organisation in the English Harbour area of the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda was set up with the aim in mind of providing local disabled people with opportunities to get afloat. To this date, it is the only program for disabled people in Antigua that offers a recreational activity to differently able people from the local community and one of only a handful of such programs in the entire Caribbean region.
With 85+ participants taking part in this program on a weekly basis, demand is high not only for suitably trained instructors to help run the practical activities but also for the equipment used to deliver them. This includes a custom wheelchair accessible minibus to help with the logistics of collecting and returning participants to where they live in Antigua, as well as the fleet of boats used to take the sailors out on the waters of Falmouth Harbour. Included in this fleet are 3 RS Venture Connect sailboats, all with the ‘plug-and-play’ ‘SCS’ (Seated Control) system.
RS Sailing and Sailability Antigua are working together to help enable a team from Antigua and Barbuda to attend the next RS Venture Connect World Championship event. This would be the first time that a sailing team from the region would have attended such an event and it is hoped that this would pave the way for Antigua to themselves host a similar regional event in the future.
With the Sailability Antigua program costing around 50,000 EC to deliver each year, the majority of funding required comes from charitable fund-raising activities such as the ever popular ‘Super Sunday’ walk where disabled sailors, their families, friends and supporters of the program parade through English Harbour before congregating at the National Sailing Academy in Dockyard Drive for a social event delivered in trademark Caribbean style.