It was all smiles when Sailability Qld’s Shorncliffe branch launched “Grumpy Walker”, a new 6.1m pontoon boat, which will operate out of the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club.
The vessel is named in memory of local sailing identity, the late Ron “Grumpy” Walker, a former president of both the local Masonic Lodge and Sailabilty Qld Shorncliffe.
The gleaming $63,000 addition to the fleet was funded by the Masonic Lodge’s Hand-Heart-Pocket scheme, Sailability Qld and the Gambling Community Benefit Fund. The fleet will expand again next year with a new high-speed Zodiac-style inflatable support-safety boat, as backup for the sailing dinghies.
“Grumpy Walker” will carry groups of ten on guided tours along Cabbage Tree Creek, while another 10 smaller Access 303 dinghies, skippered by volunteers, will take handicapped passengers out. Judging by the smiles, the volunteers love it as much as their passengers.
“We’re mainly retired people,” said SQ president, Kent Sawyer. “We have women and men, and we’re always looking for more volunteers,” Kent said.
“You don’t have to be Sydney to Hobart standard. We’re happy to train you in all aspects of sailing and water safety, and it’s a good way to improve your skills. Otherwise, you can come along to help with the other jobs involved in what we do, from winching wheelchair users onto boats, to providing refreshments and maybe entertaining people on the pontoon boat, with local lore while we take them up Cabbage Tree Creek.”
“We train all our volunteers to manage the dinghies and, believe me, we all look forward to our Monday morning sails here at Shorncliffe, at least as much as the people we take out.”
Sailability Queensland also operates out of Manly and the Gold Coast. Its regular Shorncliffe sessions are held Monday mornings at the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club on Sinbad Street, Shorncliffe.
If you’d like to help out, contact Sailability Queensland via Kent Sawyer on ph. 3878 1426 or online at www.sailabilityqueensland.o...