The boat, which will enable more people with disabilities to go sailing, can be used by any club in the North West which is an accredited RYA Sailability site.

The new access boat for the disabled has been handed over at Bolton Sailing Club.

It was presented to the club’s President, Keith Roberts, by the Chairman of the RYA North West Region, Michael Moore and the RYA Sailability North Development Officer, Warren Price.

The Hansa 303 was bought with the aid of a grant, donations and match-funding contribution from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) North West Region. 

The boat will be used for teaching the basics of sailing, building confidence on the water and use in special school regattas. It will also enable training of instructors to answer the particular needs of people with disabilities through the RYA Sailability programme.

Sailing is one of the very few sports where sailors with disabilities can use specially-adapted boats to compete against fully able people in mixed-class events. A handicapping system enables direct comparison of different shapes and sizes of boats.

While the new boat will be based at Bolton Sailing Club, any club in the North West which is an accredited Sailability site or wants to be one can request the use of the boat.

The access boat has a very heavy removable keel that gives stability in strong winds. The boom is also angled up for safety.

The class has single and double person versions. They are fitted with adapted controls: a joystick instead of a tiller for steering and can even have motorised modifications for those with reduced movements or strength.

Through RYA Sailability, more than 53,000 disabled young people and adults are introduced to sailing per year, and many go on to sail on a regular basis.