Sailability Wellington Trust has opened a $250,000 all-tide jetty on Porirua Harbour to provide more days on the water and better facilities for sailors with disabilities.
The jetty was launched on 18 November by Sports Minister Grant Robertson, and the America’s Cup made a special guest appearance at the Titahi Bay Boating Club for the day, loaned for the event by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Auckland.
The jetty has been named the Duncan Renouf Jetty, in memory of a keen local sailor. Duncan, who had Down syndrome, sailed solo for the first time shortly before he died in January 2017.
Lynne Renouf, Duncan’s mother, says he loved sailing and wouldn’t miss Thursdays for anything – even giving up his regular fish and chips lunch date. “He was absolutely enthusiastic. He was very keen to go out on his own,” she says. “He was a leader of the pack – out of the van and organising the vests – in his element really. He turned out to have pretty good skills.”
Lynne says she encouraged Duncan to start sailing after his Dad died. “The volunteers down there are a wonderful bunch of guys.”
Sailability Wellington Chief Executive Don Manning says Duncan had been sailing for four years and was someone who encouraged other people. “He was full of fun and mischief.”
The IHC Foundation has supported Sailability Wellington since 2015. The Foundation’s most recent grant, in October, was $15,000 towards the expansion of the sailing programme and to increase participation of sailors from Porirua, Kapiti and Horowhenua, which will be possible from the new jetty.
Almost 190 people sail with Sailability Wellington in various locations around the Wellington coast, supported by 70 volunteers, and there are 90 on the waiting list.
The Titahi Bay Boating Club’s existing jetty was strengthened to support the new jetty, which now extends into the harbour by five metres, linked by a walkway and ramp. This gives Sailability Wellington a further 50 square metres of rigging space to set up masts and sails and new floating pontoons will provide all-tide sailing.
Sailability Wellington will operate and maintain the floating pontoons, but has gifted the new jetty to the people of Porirua, under the guardianship of the Titahi Bay Boating Club.