Chichester project to get everyone to sea is on an even keel
A Chichester-based project is hoping to bring a sea of opportunity to people regardless of ability, age, race or background.
The Even Keel Project, aims to give people with disabilities and those who would not otherwise have the opportunity, the experience of competitive sailing.
Founded by David Rutter, who established the project in May, the organisation aims to develop people's interest in competitive sailing through a series of taster days.
David previously worked in IT, but left the sector to indulge in his love for the water.
He came up with the idea for the charity while he was involved in the development of the Artemis 20 yacht, a high-level competitive sailing boat.
"I realised many of the boats used by disabled people were not that great, and that this boat could be easily adapted and looked great," he said.
"I thought that using this boat we could bring sailing to a wider range of people. The boats can be adapted to almost any type of disability.
"Paraplegic sailor and record-breaker Hilary Lister is currently sailing solo around Britain on her own specially-adapted Artemis 20 boat.
Hilary perfectly demonstrates that all one actually needs to sail is breath.
"Although land-based activities are often problematic for some people, there are few limitations once out on the water.
"The project will give both disabled and able-bodied people the chance to experience the sport on an even keel '“ hence the name."
The project is funded by sponsors and eventually, David would like to set up a network of bases around the world so everyone can experience sailing at the highest level on an equal basis.
The Even Keel took part in Cowes Week this summer, with the project's fleet of boats taking part in the sonar class event.
Each boat is operated by one disabled and one able-bodied sailor to highlight the fact sailing can be a completely non-discriminative sport.
For more information about the project see www.theevenkeel.com
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