by Deb Jeffreys
Struggling to stay afloat, Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD) has been buoyed by a pledge of support that includes fund-raising initiatives from the Windcraft Group, a Sydney-based boating company.
David Pescud with Windcraft GM Allan Bridge
The partnership is based on the shared belief of both founders in the positive benefits to be gained from experiencing the sheer joy of sailing. As any sailor will tell you, sailing provides a feeling of liberation and develops confidence and self esteem which some people find much harder to achieve onshore.
David Pescud, the founder of the not-for-profit SWD, has dedicated the last 20 years to changing the way people with a disability regard themselves and society’s perception of the disabled.
The result of David’s dedication is that each year more than three thousand children and adults with a disability and disadvantaged youth participate in the weekly sailing programmes provided by SWD.
Peter Hrones, the Managing Director of the Windcraft Group, said it was an easy decision to get on board and help when he learned of the struggle that SWD has to continue providing this service.
'My company’s strength is having a dedicated and experienced team which understands the importance of working together just as a crew on a boat does,' Mr Hrones said.
'We know we all have different skills that when combined to achieve team goals are very powerful. As part of a team or crew the individual feels empowered to successfully go beyond limits they have set for themselves,' he added.
Windcraft GM Allan Bridge meets Grace and schoolmates
Mr Hrones intends to raise funds and awareness for SWD through Windcraft’s annual sailing events which are attended by a community of boat owners who share a passion for their sport. He is sure they will wholeheartedly support his decision to step aboard with SWD.
Windcraft’s staff will be able to work with SWD on a regular basis in work hours. David Pescud says SWD is excited about the partnership, noting that there are already some impressive links in place with Windcraft.
One of SWD’s three boats is a Hanse, a brand that Windcraft imports, while the SWD entry in this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race is skippered by Kirk Watson who owns a Hanse and sails from Pittwater.
Kirk, who is legally blind, will lead a crew of 16 in the bluewater classic that starts on Boxing Day.
More at www.sailorswithdisabilities.com and www.windcraft.com.au