‘Sue Mc’ ready to set sail

Sailability Belmont will officially recognise the donation of a new Hansa 303 keelboat by Headstart ABI Service when they launch the ‘Sue Mc’ at Belmont on Friday, May 4, taking the club’s fleet of sailing craft to 20.

Sailability Belmont is a volunteer based, not for profit organisation, providing sailing opportunities strictly for people with disabilities. Approximately 20 volunteers a day assist about 50 to 60 sailors over four mornings a week by preparing the boats, assisting with access and accompanying the sailors of all skill levels on the water.

Described as sleek and fast by those lucky enough to have had a test sail, ‘Sue Mc’ gets its moniker from Headstart ABI Service Executive Director, Sue McHattie.

Returning to work from annual leave recently, McHattie was surprised and humbled to learn that the Headstart Board had elected to recognise her 32 year tenure at the helm of Headstart, with the naming rights honour.

Headstart ABI Service provides specialised support services to people living with an acquired brain injury. “Every brain injury is unique”, says McHattie. “The injury may be as result of an accident, a stroke or substance abuse. Often returning to the passions people once had or finding new skills is difficult for any number of reasons and Headstart helps by providing strategies and support to reconnect people with their passions and achieve new goals.

“We have had a working relationship with Sailability Belmont for many years. They give many people with a disability an opportunity to experience the thrill and the freedom that comes from sailing”, says McHattie. “It was a perfect fit to donate the Hansa 303 which is ideal for beginners and it is extremely safe and easy to sail.  The fact that it’s named after me is very special given that my passion is, in fact, sailing”.

Lorraine Blair from Sailability Belmont says that the donation will allow the sailing club to offer more people, more opportunities to sail. “We already have a very strong volunteer base, from those in the boats, to the ladies in the kitchen providing catering, and our sailors love their mornings here. Now we can increase the capacity for people to enjoy our service”.

What: ‘Sue Mc’ Official Launch
When: Friday, May 4, 10am-12.30pm
Where: Sailability Belmont, The Parade Belmont (next door to Belmont 16s)