The UK-based Wheelyboat Trust’s mission to bring boating to all, regardless of mobile impairments (see Ship & Boat International July/August 2016, pages 63-64), has been boosted by a series of new Wheelyboat deliveries in recent months.
A 6.2m x 2.3m, GRP-built Coulam V20 Wheelyboat type has been handed over to the QE2 Activity Centre in Hampshire, UK to enable disabled persons to take to the water independently, to enjoy “pleasure boating, powerboating and nature watching”, The Wheelyboat Trust says. This vessel has been named James Male in memory of one of the four sailors killed in the 2014 Cheeki Rafiki incident, and can accommodate up to 10 adults, including six wheelchair users (pictured).
Meanwhile, as September's Southampton Boat Show drew to a close, The Wheelyboat Trust unveiled another Coulam V20 Wheelyboat to Lymington Sailability, a group that has been actively working with a range of charities to entice disabled people in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire to partake in water-based recreational activities and boat trips. The Wheelyboat Trust explains: “Apart from powerboating, fishing and general leisure pursuits, the boat can also be used as a rescue and safety craft, water taxi, workboat, harbour launch or cargo carrier.”
Designed by RINA associate member Andrew Wolstenholme (who also designed the Wheelyboat Mark III, which made its debut in 2006, and the larger, 8.8m Wheelyboat V29 model) and constructed by Lincolnshire-based JM Coulam Boatbuilders, the vessels in the Coulam V20 Wheelyboat class typically deploy Suzuki and/or Torqeedo outboards, enabling speeds of up to 26knots.
Naturally, The Wheelyboat Trust is endorsing the UK Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA’s) new ‘Powerability’ scheme, which is intended to train disabled persons to obtain powerboat skipper certification. As Andy Beadsley, director of The Wheelyboat Trust, puts it: “It’s not just about getting on and off the boat…but being able to have to full control.” Joff McGill, RYA sailability manager, adds: “The Powerability scheme dovetails into the internationally recognised RYA training schemes and is a great stepping stone that increases accessibility.”
Anyone wishing to donate to The Wheelyboat Trust’s activities can do so here.