The Disabled Sailing Association and RoRo Sailing Project offered five Frensham Pond Sailability sailors – and four helpers – the opportunity to sail around the Solent.

They sailed in the Spirit of Scott Bader – a 40ft catamaran – with her skipper John Douglas and two crew.

This yacht is a unique catamaran designed and built by the Disabled Sailors’ Association as an ocean going craft which allows for people with any type of disability to take an active part in sailing.

It can be sailed by one person in a wheelchair.

Having left Port Solent on a cold and overcast Monday morning, and taken in the sights of Portsmouth Dockyard under motor, the group reached the Solent.

With the wind now filling in and the sun trying to shine, with sails set and engine off and only the sound of creaking rigging and lapping waves against the hull, the group were finally sailing and feeling an overwhelming sense of freedom.

Everyone was invited to sail as much or as little as they wished and helming a 40ft yacht under full sail from a wheelchair was an absolute privilege and highlight of the day.

The wind continued to build, giving everyone an exhilarating sail back to port with smiles of gratitude all round.

Thanks were given to the Disabled Sailing Association for funding the day as well as the whole Spirit of Scott Bader team for making it so memorable and special.

Michael Buttler