2021 NEWS

JUNE is here and the heat is on!!

36 programs undertaken which included 14 Scallywag Foundation sessions for sailors with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other challenges, children from the HK Red Cross Margaret Trench School, Group 2 from Morning Hope School and a very keen group of young ladies from our Ethnic Community who are really enjoyed this newly found sport of sailing.  As well as............


OUR SENIOR SAILOR PROGRAM funded by the Hong Kong Club Foundation continues to attract much interest as we work towards training new senior sailors to become volunteers.  Volunteers are being trained to support new sailors from grass root areas of our community.  I'm sure there are many seniors in our our grass roots community who would love this opportunity and we can make it happen! Well done to Instructors Candy & Jess who are working with this project.

SATURDAY SAILING PROGRAM primarily for sailors with Learning Disability/SEN/ASD is the highlight of the week for many as they travel from as far away as Discovery Bay for a day's sailing at HHYC.  Alexandra and Greig were part of the Fab4 (Alexandra, Sean, Joshua & Greig) way back in 2009 and still sail every week.  

SINCERE CONDOLENCES go to the family of Sean Browne who sadly passed away unexpectedly on 11th June 2021 at home in the UK.  Sean along with Greig, Alexandra and Joshua were our Fab4 who were instrumental in the formation of Sailability Hong Kong.  Sean was also a very keen football player, being Captain of the Crusaders Football Team at HKFC when living in HK, and also a mascot to many of their RFU & Football teams.  He will be sadly missed by us all at Sailability and many more in Hong Kong and Manchester, UK, where the family made their home after leaving Hong Kong a few years ago.

PARA TEAM AND TIER 2 PARA TEAM TRAINING takes place during the week and on Sundays as we work towards more local, regional and international racing as well as reinstatement into the Paralympics.  To make things more interesting and challenging for our sailors and to expand our Race Training Progam, Catherine Smith - Director of Sailability Hong Kong together with Virgile Bertrand - Sailability Volunteer and Chairperson of the 2.4mR Association, came up with the brilliant idea of running Sunday Practice Race Training for our 2.4mR & Hansa 303 Para Team Sailors.  This Mike Rawbone Challenge Cup series consists of 9 days of racing in 3 series from June to the end of the year.  Each series is dedicated to people who have supported Sailability over the years culminating in the Series Winner being awarded the Mike Rawbone Challenge Cup.  The 3 Race Series are named as follows:


Race 1 Series June - Kaplan (in honour of Neil Kaplan and support from the Arbitrators Ball)

Race 2 Series - Blacklaws (a great volunteer and friend to us all)

Race 3 Series - Sean Browne (in memory of Sean, one of the Fab4 Sailability Sailors back in 2009)

A huge thank you to our sailors and the volunteers who made this happen.

Series 2 commences on 5th September.  If you have race management experience and would like to come along and help please contact us at kay@sailability.org.hk


Our para sailors spent a day’s inclusive sailing on a very stylish Solaris 47 yacht named Saphira. The Solaris design has a flat transom making it possible to accommodate wheelchairs and it’s even possible to sail the boat while seated in a wheelchair. The para team who normally sail 2.4mR’s have sailed on larger yachts previously but this was the biggest yacht for them as a team.

Everyone at Sailability is hugely appreciative for this opportunity - THANK YOU to Ar Tai, Cynthia and Enrico for making this day possible.


.....and the resilience of our sailors shone through.  The awful weather conditions over the 2 days disrupted the racing with no racing and no winner being declared.  Even so sailors from Sailability felt they had learned much from taking part.  A couple of comments from sailors who joined the racing:

Cyan - volunteer buddy sailor 'I gained a lot from this experience as a volunteer, from seeing how particpants persevered during the advers weather conditions to learning more about water sports and weather patterns.  Although a race winner was not declared, I'm looking forward to the next race'.

Oi Po Chung - Sailability Sailor and Cyan's buddy 'There are different learning experiences in the challenges brought about by weather - strong gusts, no wind, heavy rain and changing wind direction.  Although there was no wind and heavy rain this time, I actually prefer it to the scorching hot sun. On the water the sailors were relaxed. Our opponents smiled at us and said hello. We said hi back. Despite the rain, people were all happy and mellow. I'm looking forward to future obstacles I may face'.


Sailability HK has been awarded not one but TWO “Caring Company” awards!!

The first award is for Sailability Hong Kong helping “To build a cohesive society… inspiring corporate social responsibility through caring for the community, employees and the environment.” Well done everyone who has contributed to this in any capacity – this award is yours!

Secondly a “Caring Ambassador” Award has been given to our Co-Founder and CEO Kay Rawbone “in recognition of the contribution to corporate community involvement programs”. 

Sailability and Kay were nominated for these awards by Hong Kong Society for the Blind who are one of our valued partners and we thank them for their thoughtfulness and generosity in making these nominations.

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Sean in a Bahia on his first day at HHYC and as part of our FAB4 with Rex and Rob back in 2009

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MAY......and we thought March and April were busy!!


477 people joined Sailability this month - an unbelieveable number!

281 sailors with disability

110 new sailors

198 women

279 men

132 volunteers in various roles

75 joining our Sun Hung Kai Scallywag Foundation Program 

Why were we so busy?


a huge thank you to our Sailability Event Sponsors - Mercedez-Benz & HFW - who made this happen and provided free sailing to all our sailors, old and new!! Thank you also to a HHYC member for providing lunch for our volunteers.

This was a brilliant idea received from World Sailing (WS).  One of their strategic initiatives to introduce more women and girls into sailing whatever that may be, whilst having fun: sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, volunteering, race management etc. Sailability & HHYC couldn't resist the challenge and together with a fantastic joint Working Committee we were co-hosted the event - the first of its kind in Hong Kong.



The Women’s Sailing Festival got underway with an opening ceremony at Hebe Haven Yacht Club on the morning of 21st May. Attended by many members of the Sai Kung Community, HHYC Commodore & their General Committee, event sponsors, working committee members, guest speakers and sailors - it was a very fitting start to what was to be an amazing 10 days. 


Special thanks to World Sailing's Rob Holden and Massimo Dighe for their kind words via video at the event opening and from Sailability to RTHK,  SCMP and other media channels for their coverage.


Andreas Buchental, President and CEO Mercedes-Benz HK who  sponsored our involvement, expressed his support for the work of Sailability in the community. He described the Women’s Sailing Festival as a “great initiative, on the one hand local on the other worldwide “.  And when Sian Knight a Lawyer with Holman, Fenwick, Willen who also sponsored Sailability, said they were committed to getting para sailing back into the Paralympic Games, the audience responded with instantaneous applause!

Numbers of sailors old and new, together with volunteers and guests over the 10 days was 308 which included:

                                       176 women

                                       132 men

                                        65 new sailors experiencing sailing for the first time - 63 women + 2 men

                                        78 volunteers in various roles - 42 women + 36 men

AMAZING RESULT and well done to our Sailability Family and RHKYC for your involvement in the event - thank you.


The Hebe Haven Yacht Club Open Regatta 2021 held over the weekend of 22/23 May and

during the World Sailing's Steering the Course - Women's Sailing Festival,  provided ranking

regattas for our 2.4mR and Hansa 303 fleets. Results from these races will be

forwarded to World Sailing as we successfully manage our sailing and rankings during

COVID times.

This year saw the largest Sailability fleet – 26 of our boats; 2.4mR x 9, Hansa Liberty x 3 and

Hansa 303 x 14 sailed by a spectrum of sailors. Those competing are Sailability HK’s Para Sailing

Team, Tier 2 Para Sailors, new sailors with amputations, limb deformities, neurological disorders

and volunteers. We also saw SEN sailors from our regular Saturday Sailing Sessions paired

with competent volunteer sailors from different walks of life, regular volunteers, a female

instructor and sailors representing 4 different schools/organisations who attend regular

sailing with us. The schools’ representatives included teachers, social workers and volunteers

paired with SEN students.

This amazing spectrum of our sailors really demonstrates the inclusiveness of what we do

and its versatility as a competitive sport.

Kay Rawbone CEO of Sailability HK said, “A huge thank you to everyone involved over the

weekend for what turned out to be an amazing event! Everyone supported everyone, sailors

and volunteers alike. What a great family we are.”


The link below takes you to the results page. Special mention to Sailability sailors Leo Purdie & Alexandra Jones who came 1st & 2nd in the Hansa 303 doubles, TANG Chi Shing, 1st in the Hansa 303 singles, FOO Yuen Wai second in the 2.4mR class, and to Peter Danielsson who won in the Liberty class! Check out the results on the following link:


Sailability sponsors enjoyed a Moments Experience courtesy of Systeke Kinman - one of the HHYC event sponsors.  Thank you so much for this - everyone had a great afternoon on this beautiful Catamaran.  Sailability Volunteers + Sian from HFW and her family, joined the Sail Away Day on Day 10 of the Festival.  What great way to end an awesome 10 days.

More special thanks to HHYC for providing the venue for the event and to the ladies in the Working Committee for the dedication and hard work in bringing it all together.  We are very happy to have been part of this and look forward to 2022!!!


11 Sun Hung Kai Scallywag Foundation programs for the following groups:

ASD 07,08,09 - 3 groups of sailors with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Hong Kong Red Cross Margaret Trench School

Hong Kong Society for the Blind 

Hand in Hand - a group formed by parents with children with upper limb deformity

Morning Hope School - Group 2 with sailors from Group 1 now acting as mentors -

what a difference sailing has made

A group of young Ethnic Community ladies joining their 2nd session


Saturday Sailing

Para Sailing Team Training

Tier 2 Para Team Training

Hong Kong Foundation volunteer training for our Senior Sailing program

Mega thanks to all at Sailability who helped to make this happen - without you we couldn't do what we do.  

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Presentation to winner of ladies 2.4mR -
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Another amazing month for Sailability HK and I would like to start this month's round up by sharing with you all a Testimonial from Morning Hope School who joined our SHK Scallywag Foundation Program on 25th March 2021.

'Children from Morning Hope School came along to Sailability with their Social Worker and Teacher. From a completely blank sheet, not having done much physical work, the children developed into confident able sailors after 6 days training. By the end of the course they were able to independently rig the Hansa 303 boats and wash, clean and pack them away after the sessions without too much guidance.


From an initial familiarisation ride on a safety boat, the children managed to sail all the way out to near Shelter Island, past HKUST and back on their final day.  Congratulations everybody! #SAILABILITY - WE AREN'T MANY, WE ARE ONE'  Ming

This month's round up:

A total of 396 took to the water  during April which included sailors old and new (in terms of age and experience) together with volunteers as support when needed:  

Sailors:                     293 (239 with disability)

Volunteer sailors:  103

New sailors:             61 (40 with disability)

Total number of sessions held during the month - 41. Really amazing and huge                        thanks to our instructors, volunteers, donors and of course our sailors who made

all this happen.



16 sessions during April with 107 sailors and included......

A WATER SPORTS WEEK - we held our first ever water sports week for

Special Educational Needs Youth in HK from 30 March until 10 April. 

Groups of teenagers from different schools experienced an exciting time with

Sailability HK. The young people were from families with disabled parents - CARA,

teenagers with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) studying in mainstream or

special schools. Many sailing for the first time while others were graduated

sailors from our Scallywag Foundation sailing program.  More training will be

run in the coming school holidays, so watch out for the latest updates!

On 2 April we embraced World Autism Awareness Day which aims to

raise awareness about people with autistic spectrum disorders including

autism and Asperger's syndrome throughout the world.  At Sailability HK

our instructors took a mixed group of boys and girls with special needs

from HK schools sailing. It was also the first of 5 days training for group

ASD08, once again funded by the SHK Scallywag Foundation programme.

+ other Scallywag Foundation training programs continued as sailors joined 

regular training to complete their courses:

ASD 07

Tsui Tsing Tong School

Morning Hope School

Kai Oi School



10 'Golden Age' sailors, some with previous sailing experience

joined this new volunteer training program with instructors Jesse & Candy.

The purpose of this training is to train and support the volunteers to

become proficient in rigging and sailing our Hansa 303s whilst supporting

lesser  able 'Golden Agers' within our community as the 'Senior Sailing program'

progresses. What a great way to spend your spare time after retirement

- helping others whilst learning a new skill!


12 teachers joined a 2 day training program to prepare them to

become proficient buddy sailors to the first group of their

students joining a taster day later in the month.  Students

from this school have higher support needs and this gives

us the opportunity to use one of our specially designed

seats to offer more support to the sailor, when in the

boat and whilst sailing. Parents also joined in the fun

and went out on one of our safety boats to see their 

children sailing.

SLIX & HK AMPUTEE ASSOCATION  a group of men and women from the HK

Amputees Association and Slix Society (for people with limb and/or body deformity)

took to the water. They had a wonderful time and fortunately they got back to

Hebe Haven before the weather turned grey and wet!  Well done to our instructors

and helpers - Paul, Ryan, Daoud, Candy, June, Lotus, and Puk (International

Para Sailing Team Member).  Many have expressed an interest to reurn to train

 for the HHYC  Open Regatta in May.

1st STEP ASSOCIATION members, staff and volunteers, which included

15 new sailors age 50-70, left their wheelchairs behind as they sailed in our

Hansa 303s and also enjoyed rides on our ribs.  Also accompanying the group

was a media team which included Mark Poon one of our Tier 2 sailors. 

What a great day they all had with many wanting a return visit. 

Our hoist proved to be invaluable on that day!

VOLUNTEER PROGRAM for experienced sailors with instructor Candy. 

Many experienced sailors joined this program to familiarise themselves with our

Hansa 303 fleet in preparation to not only to become regular volunteers but to

also support and assist with a very busy May with the World Sailing's Steering

the Course Women's Festival and the HHYC Open Dinghy Regatta in which

we played a very an important part. 

...........all this and our regular weekly training and fun programs also continued:












 I would like to extend a huge thanks to all involved; our donors, instructors, safety boat drivers, AI's, volunteers and of course our sailors some of whom undergo twice weekly  training to represent  HK in the sport of sailing.




Meeting 1st Step sailors at the start of their first sailing day

and very happy at the end of their sailing day

Instructor Andy with our new sailors from SLIX and the HK Amputee Assoc

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Thank you Paul and Candy for the training given to our Tier 2 sailors all of whom I am sure are looking to join our International Para Sailing Team soon.

Tiger Mok trains Sailability's International Para Sailing team!

Our para sailing team were joined for one of their training sessions by Tiger Mok! Tiger is best known for sailing in the Sydney- Hobart, the China Sea Race and he was the only Hong Kong based crew member to have sailed on Scallywag in the Volvo Ocean Race. So we are thrilled to have him supporting Sailability.


Mad March - and that's what is was for us this year - 306 of our sailors and volunteers sailing during the month.  Absolutely amazing and credit and many thanks go to our sailors, instructors, volunteers and our sponsors for making this happen.  

March's sailing included:

PARA SAILORS WEEKLY TRAIING - as well as their regular bi-weekly training program at HHYC, 6 x 2.4mRs sailed to Middle Island for the race over the weekend of 13th & 14th March, which takes around 6 hours and it not easy, only to find the weekend's racing had been cancelled due to another COVID cluster being found in Sai Ying Pun.  They then had to sail back!  Thanks go to our sailors, Coach Ed, Volunteers Fred, Jenny, Jeannette and Lydia for their involvement, support and encouragement as always.

SATURDAY SAILING GROUP - happy to be back to some sort of 'normal' and as always they have enjoyed meeting new volunteers joining us and new instructors to our regular team.  Welcome to Instructors Jack, Jesse and Andy and thank you for the interest in what we do at Sailability.

GOLDEN AGE VOLUNTEER TRAINING to assist with our SEN Schools Programs - 12 joined this program learning how to become a supportive volunteer - learning the tricks of the trade!!  Thank you to Sunny for his help with this. Here they are having an introduction to our boats. 

The Hong Kong Club Foundation has also donated funds for a Senior Sailing Program commencing April 2021- if you are interested in joining as a volunteer or sailor please contact us

HONG KONG SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND returned with a new group of sailors who enjoyed their first sailing experience and can't wait to come back again on 2nd May 2021.

TIER 2 SAIL TRAINING GROUP for sailors with a physical disability is growing with many more joining these sessions hoping one day to join our Para Sailing Team.  Keep up the hard work - it will be worth it in the end.

MARGARET TRENCH RED CROSS SCHOOL teachers etc participated in their first sailing session following a ZOOM presentation to staff, students and Parents.  Training is being provided to them so that they can feel confident on the water when their students come to sail with us in May.  They like everyone else enjoyed their introduction to sailing and are looking forward to more!

SCALLYWAG FOUNDATION PROGRAM (sponsored by Sun Hung Kai) - we had a mammoth month with 12 sessions being undertaken for 76 sailors sailing.  Those joining this program for the under - represented in Hong Kong were from:  Tsui Ting Tong, Morning Hope and Kai Oi Schools, 3 Groups of students on the Autism Spectrum and a group of girls/young ladies from our Ethnic Community.  All groups thoroughly enjoyed their introduction to sailing and the courses being provided by Sun Hung Kai.  Huge thanks from us all to Sun Hung Kai for making this happen.     

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.....and everyone is so happy - our sailors, instructors, volunteers alike and at Sailability Hong Kong are taking responsible precautions in line with Government recommendations. We had a great month albeit restrictions were in place with 122 of our sailors and volunteers on the water sailing!

All our Instructors, volunteers, in fact anyone assisting within our programs will need to provide a negative COVID-19 negative test every 14 days. By complying with this all our programs can restart.

We started with volunteers on 6th & 13th February, working in 2's at HHYC, as we set about checking our boats to ensure they are all in working order.  We have also fitted new reefing lines to some of the older boats which will make many sailors happy. A few of our regular sailors took to the water over the weekend of 6/7th and 15th February.  We were also able to finish the last day of an HKSF level 1&2 on 15th February for staff and volunteers of one of our partnering NGOs, who sail with us on a regular basis, + a couple of our own volunteers.  Great news - they have all passed!!!!!


Volunteering training commences on 22nd February for Golden Age Sailors who are looking to be volunteers for our schools' programs.  This will be of great benefit to both groups as they enjoy the sessions together.  If this is of interest to you please let us know and maybe you could join us.


During the shutdown we have found other things to do and getting our 2nd Enterprise ready to sail was at the top of the list.  Initial work was undertaken by volunteers Mark & Ernest and now she has been handed over the Dragon Marine to add their finishing touches.


This second Enterprise will be called 'Mike's Enterprise' in memory of one of our founders - Mike.  It will be easily recognised when sailing as it will have the name on its sails together with a Sailability logo.  Mike and Kay owned 3 Enterprises during their sailing days in the UK - all wooden and it was Mike's wish to have a class for use by both our sailors and volunteers.  Now his wishes are coming to fruitition!!!  Only one problem - we need a boom.  If anyone knows of an Enterprise boom in HK please let us know.  


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Mr Liu - one of our regular Golden Age Volunteers who will be assisting with the new volunteer training programs. 


Mr Liu we all love you!!!.


Mike's Enterprise at Dragon Marine after a rub down and a first undercoat.


Looking even better after a second undercoat.

Keep watching this space for updates!!!

Thank you Dragon Marine.



This is the tag line of the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) to which Sailability Hong Kong is accredited, as we came to the end of 2020.  The same applies to us all at Sailability Hong Kong as say goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021.  We all came through it and are still smiling - let's look to a happier and healthier year with lots of sailing. 


More importantly as we look forward to a restart to our programs with new schools, NGOs, Organisations and private individuals, as well as our regular sailors, waiting to get back in their boats, have the wind in their hair and feel the benefits of what Sailability Hong Kong offers.  Together we can make it happen.


Our programs were suspended once again on 5th December 2020 with the closure of all sporting programs.  Why not take a look back at our sailing news of 2020 as a reminder of what we did achieve in 2020 and why we all love to be on the water,  how beneficial it is to us all.  We managed to achieve a lot in the few months we were able to operate.

At the moment it doesn't look as if we will be back sailing until after Chinese New Year and then maybe not until March.  Let's do what we all do at Sailability and look to the positives and work towards the busy times ahead.  They will come!!!


Looking forward - take a look at this page to cheer yourself up as you see the events already being organised as we look forward to later this year.  You will be amazed and if you would like to be part of any of these events please contact me at kay@sailability.org.hk 

2021 NEWS

As we go forward during our suspension we thought you would like to meet some of our instructors and volunteers and learn more about them and why they became involved with Sailability.

Watch this space they will be appearing shortly.

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