Potential sailors of all ages and abilities are encouraged to give sailing a try onboard the specially modified racing yacht, the TP52 ‘Wot- Eva’, during this week’s Festival of Sails on the Geelong waterfront.
The yacht is part of the Making Waves Foundation sailing program, which for the past 30 years has been providing a variety of sailing programs for young people with disability, or experiencing social challenges, with unique on-water experiences.
Making Waves Foundation spokesperson and long-time Royal Geelong Yacht Club member, Bill Chittenden says the programs use sailing as a tool to build confidence, self-esteem and new relationships.
“It has been a real honour for me to see how much joy these programs give people and the impact they have on helping people focus on what they can achieve, while they’re having fun and trying something new,” he says.
“And we’re really excited to be able to give people who haven’t tried sailing before the opportunity to come onboard during the Festival of Sails!”
Previously used for training and sailing programs in New South Wales and Queensland, Wot-Eva will now be permanently moored at Geelong and used for training programs for local schools and disability groups.
“I have two grandsons who are autistic, and I know how much joy they get from coming on the boat,” he says. “And it would be fabulous for even more young people to experience that same joy.”
The Wot-Eva will be available for two cruises on Sunday, January 29 departing from Wangim Walk on the Geelong waterfront at 9.30am and 1.30pm.
Making Waves Foundation (MWF), formerly Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD), is an Australian registered not-for-profit charitable organisation.