It took nearly three years to raise the money, but Sailability Wellington Trust has started building a new jetty on Porirua Harbour to provide better facilities and more days on the water for sailors with disabilities.
Almost 190 people sail with Sailability Wellington in various locations around the Wellington coast and there are 80 on the waiting list. Thirty-six people regularly sail on Porirua Harbour on Thursdays, but low tides have limited the number of hours they can spend out in boats. With the completion of the new jetty, the group will be able to increase the number of sailors to 60 and start sailing on Saturdays too, says Chief Executive Don Manning.
The Titahi Bay Boating Club’s existing jetty has been strengthened to support the new jetty, which will extend into the harbour by 5 metres, linked by a walkway and ramp. The new jetty will give 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.
Piles for the new jetty have been sunk and construction is expected to take a couple of months. Don says the cost will be around $180,000. Sailability Wellington has agreed to operate and maintain the floating pontoons, but will gift the new jetty to the people of Porirua, under the guardianship of the Titahi Bay Boating Club.
The IHC Foundation has supported Sailability Wellington since 2015 and Don says more and more people with intellectual disabilities are learning to sail solo. The Foundation's most recent grant, in December 2017, was $15,000 towards the expansion of the sailing programme.