Paralympic sailor urges people to get involved in sailing initiative

Irish paralympic sailor John Twomey has urged people to get out on the water this weekend to experience the thrill of sailing.

The Kinsale Yacht Club member, who will skipper team Ireland in the sonar class at the games in London, said the new nationwide Sail Spree initiative is a wonderful opportunity for people of all abilities who’ve never tried sailing before to give it a go.

“Sailing gives everyone with a disability a sense of freedom which no other sport offers.

“Sail Spree is a new national initiative by the Irish Sailing Association to encourage everyone to try the sport.”

“In Cork, there are activities all over the county from Youghal to Heir Island and all the centres in between including Cork Harbour.”

John, who has qualified for his tenth Paralympics this year, has represented Ireland more times than any other Olympic or Paralympic athlete. He is heavily involved in sailing courses in Kinsale for people with disabilities where up to 30 sailors with a wide range of physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities go sailing every Saturday.

Their parents and carers, who normally look on from shoreside, took part in one of the first Sail Spree events on Tuesday when John took them out on to the water.

Up to 60 sail clubs are now poised to host hundreds of similar sail taster events across this weekend.

In Cork, Youghal Bay Boat Club and Aquatrek Sea Skills will host sailing and power boating sessions.

Monkstown Bay Sailing Club will give visitors a chance to take part in a trophy race on Saturday.

Royal Cork Yacht Club will take guests out on members’ yachts with SailCork, based in Cobh, offering sailing, power boating and kayaking sessions.

Courtmacsherry Watersports Centre will host sailing and power boating for older kids and adults.

Baltimore Sailing Club will take visitors out on the Drascome Lugger day boat for a leisurely sail around Roaringwater Bay.

Bantry Bay Sailing Club is offering yacht sailing and power boating sessions. And Heir Island is combining Sail Spree with a Summer Solstice festival.

* www.sailspree.ie

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