For Dane Muir, possibly the best thing about sailing is being in a boat with his friend Darrell Smith – or better still getting his photograph taken with Darrell and the America’s Cup.
Dane was there when Sailability Wellington Trust recently opened its new all-tide jetty on Porirua Harbour. The America’s Cup made a special guest appearance at the Titahi Bay Boating Club, loaned for the event by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Auckland.
Dane, who is an IDEA Services client in Porirua, sails most Thursdays with Sailability Wellington. The organisation offers people with disabilities the opportunity to sail.
Dane and Darrell, a double amputee, enjoy a regular joke when they meet. Every week Dane will ask Darrell where his legs are.
“I might just say they are in the car, or they are having a rest at home,” Darrell says. Darrell has been sailing since he was a boy, but has become progressively disabled with a condition that eventually meant the removal of both legs.
Darrell has been volunteering with Sailability Wellington for eight years. Dane has been sailing for six years and he is on deck every week if the weather is good and the tide is right.
Sailability Wellington Trust Chief Executive Don Manning says 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 IHC Foundation has supported Sailability Wellington since 2015. The Foundation’s most recent grant, in October 2018, was $15,000 towards the expansion of the sailing programme and to increase participation of sailors from Porirua, Kapiti and Horowhenua.
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.