Gulf News

http://gulfnews.com/sport/sailing/sailing-club-reaches-out-to-special-needs-youngsters-1.607086
Sailing club reaches out to special needs youngsters
Dubai club in midst of collection drive to buy five Dh24,000 ‘sailability’ boats to take children out to sea
By Alaric Gomes, Senior ReporterPublished: 00:00 April 3, 2010
‘We need to buy the first boat and then another one and then another till we have at least five of these boats for these special needs sailors,’ said Keith Mutch, DOSC manager.Image Credit: OLIVER CLARKE/Gulf News
Dubai: The Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC) wants to buy a boat. Not your normal type of boat, but a special one, simply because it has to cater to some very special young sailors from the Dubai Centre for Special Needs.
For the past few months, DOSC members have launched a collection drive to buy their first sailability boat for the growing number of young special needs sailors who have become regulars at the club.
“The plan is simple: we need to buy the first boat and then another one and then another till we have at least five of these boats for these special needs sailors,” said Keith Mutch, DOSC manager.
Each boat costs Dh24,000 and the collection drive for the first one is in full swing with approximately Dh18,000 collected so far.
The idea of launching a programme for special needs children was first mooted here about a year ago by Carol Canning, who is married to a doctor and had moved to Dubai with her husband. The first thing was to have their senior instructor attend a course at the Royal Yachting Association in the UK on how to train these special needs sailors.
Given the fact the DOSC has a membership of nearly 650 families, catering to approximately 1,500 people Sunday was the best day to accommodate the special needs children to come and sail with the assistance of its six-member training staff. The DOSC members have responded very generously with 14 of them offering to help out when the children come to the club.
“It has been a few weeks now since we started this programme and you’ve got to only look at the expression on the faces of these young kids. We have big plans for the future with the sailability programme, but for the time being we need to buy our first boat,” Mutch said.

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