May 10 - 16, 2015: Issue 213

  RPAYC wins Best Community Engagement Initiative for its Integrated disAbled Sailing program

 RPAYC receiving the award - photo credit: Marina Industries Association.

 RPAYC wins Best Community Engagement Initiative for its Integrated disAbled Sailing program

6th May, 2015

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club wins ‘Best Community Engagement Initiative’ for its Integrated disabled Sailing Program and is a finalist in the Club Marina of the Year category.

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) has been awarded with the ‘Best Community Engagement Initiative’ in recognition of its Integrated disAbled Sailing Program. The award was presented by the Marina Industries Association (MIA) at the marine15 International Conference and Trade Exhibition held on the Gold Coast 3-5 May. Marina Industries Association President Andrew Chapman said the competition for the Awards was the strongest ever and a record number of entries had been received from Australia and other countries. “It is a sign of the growing strength of the marina industries that we are celebrating the excellent achievements of the winners and finalists at marine15.”   

After accepting the award, the RPAYC General Manager Suzanne Davies commented, “we are very proud of this award and it will recognise the efforts of many participants, volunteers and all club members who have so generously shared their club and helped raise funds.  Dan Fitzgibbon, in particular will be very excited, as will John Bacon who is the chairman of the club’s Board and owner of Link Healthcare who are the major sponsor of the IdS!” Warriewood based Link Healthcare, are a Pharmaceutical and Medical Technology business, who have financially supported this program from its inception. 

The Integrated disAbled Sailing Program at The RPAYC provides volunteer and financial support to integrate sailors with disabilities in to the club’s regular sailing programs.  Central to the program are the activities of Sailability and Paralympic Gold medallist, Dan Fitzgibbon who purchased and modified Another Challenge and sails it along with many other disabled and able bodied sailors in the club’s regular weekly racing program.   

Dan recently competed in the Sydney 38 Nationals hosted by the RPAYC finishing a very credible 7th.  The class association modified its class rules to enable Dan’s vessel to participate in the one design regatta.  He then followed up with a 2nd in his division at the Sydney Harbour Regatta in March.  Dan enthused “this is such great recognition. When I talk to sailors from other disabled sailing programs every single person is so jealous of the amazing way the RPAYC has embraced our IdS program. The club and every single person involved in the program should be proud of our achievements! Thank you everyone for your support.” 

Upon hearing the news, Paralympic Gold Medallist Leisl Tech was thrilled, “Well deserved to RPAYC! If the whole of Australia is saying congrats, imagine how happy we, as members (with disabilities) are!!! It is an absolute honour to be a part of such a supportive club, and I thank you all so much for the great work you continue to do for all of us members!”

The award reinforces  the importance of the club’s investment in disabled sailing with a development application before Council to ensure that its hardstand facilities, where many Sailability vessels are stored, enables participants dignified and easy access to their sailing vessels.

The club was also one of the final three contenders for Club Marina of the Year. On this occasion they narrowly missed out on the award which was awarded to The Royal Perth Yacht Club.

by Stephen Collopy

 The christening of Another Challenge with Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, Daniel Fitzgibbons in foreground and Liesel Tesch