Sailors with disABILITIES

Latest News

ASX Charity Race Day support

ASX Charity Race Day!

Saturday 27th July 2019

Sailors with DisABILITIES needs your help!  We are participating in the ASX Refinitiv Charity Foundation Race Day to be held on Saturday 27th July 2019 at the Grand Pavilion, Rosehill Gardens from 11.45am to 6pm.

We still have tickets and tables available that we need to sell. If we can sell 3 more tables, the ASX Refinitiv Charity Foundation will help us maximise their contribution of $80,000-$100,000 to Sailors with DisABILITIES - which we sorely need!

Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2019

Overview of the 4 day Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart 

from SWD's Roving Reporter (& Volunteer Crew Member) Renee.

(Photo Credit Steve Kelly).

20 year Anniversary of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart

“When times are tough, like the 98 storms, it’s no big deal, because disabled people are use to problems and face difficulties everyday.”

- David Pescud

Wright of Passage - Changing Lives!

A Fully Funded Youth Opportunity!

For those seeking an alternate pathway to their future. 

Prime Minister Turnbull on Making Waves Regatta

'Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Member for Wentworth, has congratulated all involved in the inaugural Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD) ‘Making Waves Regatta’.

SWD Segment on The Daily Edition

Thanks to Channel  7's The Daily Edition for hosting SWD on Wednesday April 5 so we can tell the world more about what SWD does and what we need--a major sponsor is top of our wish list!

We hope you enjoy the segment as much as we did!  Watch it here. 

Final Day Hobart Outreach 2017

On the final day of our Hobart Outreach program in February, we welcomed Anglicare and Taroona High School on board. Winds of Joy lets students experience nature in a context from which they may often be excluded. Everyone on board gets to feel the wind on their face and the motion the boat rolling on the waves. For sensory positive students in particular, this is a special delight.

ASX Race Day

We encourage all our supporters to join us for a day of excitement on land with our four-legged friends!

The event, organised by the ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation, will raise $0.5 million for the participating charities, including Sailors with disABILITIES.

Winds of Care Melbourne

Melbourne held their inaugural Winds of Care day on Sunday April 30th. We received this wonderful message from a participant who experienced the day. 

“What a day! I came extremely nervous of sailing as I can’t swim and hate looking down into water. It isa very real fear and I wasn't sure I was going to get on the boat. Can I please say what a fantastic and supportive crew were on board - amazing people and I take my hats off to each and every one of you for the kindness that you show to people - to our children when they sail and for giving up a sleep in on a Sunday.

Wheelchair Sailing with SWD

Meet Aggie (click the link to watch). She can't see or speak and she's loving the wind and sunshine on her face on board Kayle. Aggie sailed on Monday in Winds of Joy in Sydney, a program for children with disabilities. Please help more children like Aggie by donating here:

Winds of Care Sydney

In Sydney, last Sunday One Door Mental Health came on board for Winds of Care in Sydney. 

The day was full of young carers having a go at sailing and taking time out for themselves.

Winds of Care Days are a chance for the amazing mums, dads, grandparents, guardians, brothers, sisters, friends and others who care for disabled and disadvantaged people to take a bit of time out for themselves.

New Winds of Care Days Sydney!

We have just released 3'Winds of Care' sail days—be quick to book them!

On a Winds of Care sail your carers group comes sailing on board SWD and experiences respite and being cared for by our amazing volunteer crews.

Northern Campaign Sailing Days Open

We have opened bookings for Winds of Joy sailing days for Queensland in July and August. This program forms part of SWD's annual Northern Campaign running between Jul-Sep this year. Scroll to the bottom of this item for where and how to book. 


Volunteer Interview with Ruth Lilian OAM


Volunteer Interview Ruth Lilian OAM: Meet our volunteer, Ruth Lilian OAM, helping you on your journey to membership and volunteering with SWD.  What was your motivation for volunteering with SWD? I was looking at all the organisations that might interest me and through Volunteering NSW I saw the call for volunteers for SWD.

Women Who Sail Australia Donation

We are grateful to Women Who Sail Australia for choosing SWD as one of the charities for funds raised at the April Gathering on the Bay conference in Port Stephens.  We chatted to Women Who Sail Australia (WWSA) spokeswoman Caitlin Harris who said, "WWSA's mission is to connect women on the water. Our goal is to create communities, empower women, and encourage a love of sailing and respect for the ocean environment. Supporting SWD is part of our vision to create inclusive communities and make sailing accessible and welcoming to everyone."

On World MS Day, this is Greg Pugh's Story

Greg was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few days before Christmas, 2008. He soon lost his job and his marriage, experiencing some truly harrowing emotions and entering a bleak period in his life, marred with uncertainty.

“I was essentially sitting on the couch every day, not doing anything,” said Greg.

However, in 2014, Greg made a decision that would transform his life.

Warringa Park School Loved Winds of Joy

SWD spoke to teachers from schools across Melbourne in the past few weeks to learn about the students' experiences. Wendy, a teacher from Warringa Park School, said:

“I had a few scared students. They were scared that the boat was going to roll over! At the end of the experience, the scared ones were getting up and steering the boat and some went to the front of the boat and sat with the other students, something they would never do!"

John Berne School Student Video


The John Berne School has a long and rich history with SWD and the Winds of Change program. Groups from the school have come on board in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the 8-week sailing and leadership program for children who experience adversity.

Two weeks ago, the skipper on Winds of Change gave his iPhone over to the students so they could tell you about the program from their perspective...


Beginner volunteer sailors often relate well with many of the first-time student sailors. They experience the same curiosity and hesitation as the students—they’re “in the same boat” metaphorically and literally (pun intended)—and they form a bond from the shared experience of overcoming nerves and fears together.

Eddy Borg is one such volunteer. Eddy had no experience on a yacht when he started volunteering with SWD.

“I felt intimidated to rock up at a sailing club as a novice volunteer sailor,” he said. “But volunteering enables me to learn a new skill and bringing joy to others is my main goal. The smiles and laughter I’ve seen on the students’ faces is priceless—that’s an acknowledgement that you’ve succeeded.”


Tristan explained that the Winds of Change program helped him figure out what he wants to do for a career. After Winds of Change last year he realised he wanted to work with his hands and he wanted it to be on boats. Together with his teacher, they identified pathways and courses. He came back this time for a few weeks and yesterday he shared his hopes for his career.


SWD got involved in activities around the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta which is run by the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS). SWD is the charity of choice for the RMYS and the AWKR, thanks to the efforts of several SWD Melbourne volunteers and staff. SWD volunteer Kristi Foster sailed in the regatta and was a guest speaker for SWD at the Saturday evening’s dinner.

“I spoke about what SWD has done for me and how it’s impacted my life, giving me so many opportunities,” Kristi, who broke her back when she was 21, explained. 


He’s volunteered with SWD. He’s learning archery. And now there’s just one SWD volunteer who can say they chatted with Ian Thorpe for ten minutes and then waited with “Thorpy” to meet Prince Harry last week—and then shook Prince Harry’s hand and chatted with him, not to mention meeting the Prime Minister, who is a patron of SWD.

It was the hard launch of the Invictus Games last week in Sydney—the 500 day countdown—and SWD volunteer, Dave Condon of Hobart, was in the pouring rain at Government House in Sydney with Invictus hopefuls from across Australia.

Winter Series Racing


On Sunday, June 25, SWD raced in the Cruising Yacht Club Of Australia Winter Series aboard WOT EVA and came second in Division 1. Among our crew were regulars, including volunteers with disabilities which range from MS and Spina Bifida to blindness and dyslexia, and two students who finished the 8-week Winds of Change program with us in December 2016.


Mary MacKillop Outreach Winds of Joy

Last Thursday, June 22, Mary MacKillop Outreach (MMO) program, run by St Vincent de Paul Society, sailed on Sydney Harbour in Winds of Joy for people with disabilities. Alice and Tanya from the Office of The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister & Member for Wentworth, who is a patron of SWD, joined us.

“We were very impressed by the work of SWD..."

Sail Making and Firefighting Training Seminars

From time to time, SWD arranges seminars and training in subjects and skill areas relevant to safe and effective management of its boats. In the past month, we've had firefighting training and sail making seminars. 

Volunteering NSW Conference

SWD's Volunteer Coordinator, Alyson Wardle, and Programs Coordinator, Emma Norris, attended Volunteering NSW's State Conference in early June. As a volunteer-led organisation, in which  volunteers give over 5000 hours of time annually, it's crucial to be aware of changes and innovations within volunteerism in NSW so that SWD can strive to better serve volunteers. 

A Day of Song and Care!


This short video shows the magic that happened when the Windgap Foundation Carers group sang song and harmonies from Fiji on a Winds of Care Day in Sydney. Listen for the "Rushcutters Bay..." at the end. 

Winds of Care is a day of respite, fun and care for carers of people with disabilities or for those who care for people who may be ill sailing on board one of SWD's boats.


A Volunteer Update from AWKR

We caught up with Celia Dymond and some of the SWD volunteer team who helped at the Australian Women's Keelboat Regatta over the June long weekend in Melbourne. We thank all SWD volunteers for their incredible efforts in making this happen. 

“It was really fab to have SWD out on Ninety Seven for the event," Celia said. "We could see the boat bobbing about all weekend with the big ‘I can.’ on the side. After that, people were really interested in supporting SWD at our charity fundraiser."


A Milestone for Winds of Joy

A most remarkable outcome from last week's Winds of Joy program is that Rory, who has sailed in Winds of Joy before, asked the Skipper if he can become an SWD volunteer in the next few months. If he does, Rory will be the first Winds of Joy participant to become an onwater SWD volunteer. We’re now working towards welcoming Rory into our volunteer family later in the year.

Do SWD's Programs Really Make a Difference?

When SWD caught up with students from Lake Illawarra High School's Winds of Change program, six months after it finished, we learned that it is making a significant difference in the lives of students from that cohort. 

This is most likely because Winds of Change creates a safe space for engagement and teamwork. Skye's story helps answer the question, Do SWD's Programs Really Make a Difference?

Come Aboard and Make a Difference!

With spring fast approaching, it’s exciting to see we have more members joining SWD. What a wonderful time of year for sailing and to be chatting to colleagues and friends about the impact and fun they could have as a volunteer helping the amazing children we welcome on board each week.


A Message from SWD Founder, David Pescud

We chatted with SWD Founder, David Pescud, earlier this week about what's happening in SWD now and the outlook for the next few months.

"This Wednesday, we had so many enthusiastic guests and volunteers on board," he said. "We had a great guest sail and really enjoyed seeing new potential volunteers getting to know the boat, Kayle, and each other..."


Taking Charge with Aiden

Seventeen-year-old Aiden struggled with motivation in life and at school before Winds of Change. “I would just give up on things that were too hard and I wasn’t much of a talker,” Aiden says. When he came on board for Winds of Change, however, everything changed. The eight-week program helped Aiden believe that he can ‘take charge’ of his life and make changes. This is his story.

Winds of Joy Heading North

Next week, Kayle and a crew of SWD volunteers are heading north to Queensland and northern NSW to run Winds of Joy for over 500 children with disabilities over the next two months. Winds of Joy gives children and youth with disabilities, who may otherwise never experience the thrill of sailing, the opportunity to spend a day aboard 54-foot Sydney-Hobart racing yacht, Kayle.

Northern Campaign 2017 Orara High School

Orara High School's Winds of Joy 

Nervous energy abound before the students of 
Orara High School participated in the

Winds of Joy Program during the
2017 Northern Campaign.
Before finally proclaiming
'We LOVED it!'
Read More




Northern Campaign 2017 South Grafton High

Student's from South Grafton High School experience sailing aboard Kayle, our 54ft offshore racing yacht.

Read More 

Newcastle Middle School

Newcastle Middle School Basking in the Sunshine

Focus on our Volunteers

Our Volunteer Scott Priestley's Story

Top image - Scott with Troy Bayliss, 3 times world motorcycle champion.

Below image - Scott with Charlie Boorman from the tv series 'Long Way Round' which was filmed with his mate Ethan McGregor.



Families Supporting Families

Families Supporting Families sail in Winds of Joy Program

During 2017 Northern Campaign in Newcastle. 

New Lake Peer Support

Participating in the Winds of Joy Program in Newcastle 


Samaritans Foundation Newcastle

Experiencing Winds of Joy in Newcastle 


Hunter River High School

Experiencing the Winds of Joy Program.

'Show me your Determination' Volunteering with SWD

The Vision of Sailors with disAbilities (SWD) is ‘building optimism among disabled and disadvantaged people through the medium of sailing’. In order to achieve this vision our volunteers have to be the backbone of our organisation.

No story could fit that Vision more fittingly than this account of a volunteer who credits SWD with inspiring her to overcome her own adversity.

This is the incredible story of Kristi Foster.


Making a difference for the kids

SWD Volunteer David Leslie's return to volunteering.


James' Vision led him to SWD

Vision impairment may have meant he was forced into early retirement but it opened the door for a love of sailing for James.


Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD) will be held on Sunday 10 December at 2pm at Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association (RANSA), New Beach Road, Darling Point.


SWD Wright of Passage

Exciting Youth Opportunity!

Skipper of Hope

Sailors with disABILTITIES Creator of Optimism

Wright of Passage

Do you want to take the first step to a trade, a job and an adventure?

Hurry Register Now!

Wangee Park & Wairoa Schools Winds of Joy

Smiles all round on Sydney Harbour 


Marrickville High Letter's of Thanks

Winds of Joy Sail 

Letter's of thanks

New Partner for SWD National Pump & Energy

New partners generous support will allow SWD to expand operations in four states

NPE new Sponsors for SWD

New Sponsors Bring new exciting opportunities for Many!

Matraville Sports High School

Winds of Joy on Sydney Harbour 

SWD Volunteer Renee's Story

Converting a land lover to the ocean.

Winds of Change week 1 of 8 2018

WEEK 1 of 8 - The Winds of Change Youth Project opens a whole new world of challenge, skill development and discovery for young people who have disengaged from learning. By thinking beyond the usual classroom teaching methods, the Project offers a classroom of the future through the medium of sailing.

Hobart Outreach Program 2018

Weather causing delays for the start of our Hobart Outreach Program for 2018.

Winds of Change Week 2 of 8

Centennial Park School Winds of Change Program

Volunteers & Mentors Needed!

When you volunteer we all can benefit!

SWD Making Waves Rally 2018

Successful Rally brings much needed funds for SWD's Programs


Thank you for visiting our website. We are excited to share storiesof success about our volunteers and people with disabilities. 


Grace Kennedy was born with Spina Bifida and has been confined to a wheelchair all her life. In 2013, at the tender age of 19, she crewed in one of the world's toughest ocean races - the Rolex Sydney to Hobart. Here's Grace's story in her own words. Read about Grace's

Gathering on the Bay 2017

A huge thank you to Women Who Sail Australia and all of their supporters for selecting SWD as one of the recipients of funds raised in the 2017 Gathering on the Bay conference held in Port Stephens last week. We would also like to thank Yoga for Yachties...


Reaching Out in Hobart

We LOVED having Southern Support School in our Winds of Joy sailing program in Hobart. The photos say it all. Winds of Joy is a sailing program in which young people with disabilities experience sailing for 3 hours in a safe space. Students gain skills—knot tying, tacking, and steering the boat—and work as a team to sail and take responsibility. This gives students a chance to show their abilities and grow with their peers, creating increased confidence and self belief even after they get back home and school.

Winds of Joy in Melbourne

The sun shone on Melbourne on February 27 when students and teachers from Sunshine and Springvale Park Special Developmental Schools sailed in a Winds Of Joy Program in Melbourne. The students got stuck into winching and steering and gaining a whole lot of confidence from being part of a team sailing on a large yacht on the Yarra...

5 Programs in One Day: Mel, Syd, Hobart

Across Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney on Feb 21, SWD volunteers ran 5 Winds of Joy programs, welcoming over 50 children with disabilities, their parents, teachers and carers on board three specially adapted yachts. This included St Ives High School in Sydney, Montagu Bay Primary in Hobart, Waringah Park School in Melbourne, Springvale Park SDS Mel, and Wairoa in Sydney. It was a spectacular success and, as you can see, the weather was kind across all three citiies, something of a miracle at this time of year. What has become clear is that students LOVE steering and grow in confidence when they do, taking on new challenges when they get back home and to school.

Making Waves Regatta Day

Businesses, NGOs, community groups and volunteers from across Sydney gathered at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on Friday March 10 for the Sailors with disABILITIES inaugural #MakingWaves Regatta, the first regatta held by SWD in its 23 year history. Aiming to raise essential funds for children with disability and those who face adversity across Australia, the regatta included a dozen yachts donated by their owners and purchased by companies.

Making Waves Regatta Thank You

We wish to thank the Cruising Yacht Club Of Australia who partnered with SWD and allowed us to host the Regatta in the club at Rushcutters Bay on March 10. We wish to thank yacht owners who donated their boats to be hired by companies that raced on board on the day.

Making Waves Regatta!

We launch our inaugural Making Waves Regatta on Friday, March 10, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia at New Beach Road, Darling Point.

The Regatta will raise essential funds for children with disability and those who face adversity across Australia, adding to the 44,000 children who have come on board SWD programs over the past 23 years.

Famous ocean racers and more than 200 professionals...

Women Volunteers on International Women's Day

We celebrated the contribution of SWD's female volunteers for International Women's Day on March 8. In her own words, Julia explained why she volunteers with SWD: "Volunteering with SWD reminds me there is always a way. Never say, 'I can't.' SWD inspires us all to say, 'I can.' Everyone I meet through SWD inspires me, but my favourite thing is seeing the kids' faces light up when they realise they can too. It brings me joy."

Congratulations NSW Sports Awards Winners

SWD was excited to see people with disabilities (who happen to be sailors) and sailors (disabled and able-bodied both) making waves at the NSW Sports Awards. Congratulations to our own SWD Founder, David Pescud, for receiving the Distinguished Long Service Award for his 24-year contribution to Sailors with disABILITIES. Pescud was in great company for the evening's recognition of sporting achievements in NSW.

Melbourne Program Feedback

"Yesterday, we participated in the Sailors with disABILITIES Winds of Joy program in Melbourne. We were a group of 9 students and 5 staff from Yarrabah School. We would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to our fantastic crew, Paul, Jeff, Simon, Cameron, Judi, Lisa and shore-based, Richard."

ABC News Hobart On Board with SWD

SWD was excited to host ABC News Tasmania on board WOT EVA on the 16th of February in Hobart. Thank you ABC News 24, ABC News Tasmania in Hobart for telling the story of these amazing children and volunteers sailing in the 2017 Winds of Joy Hobart Outreach Program. This program will run until 28 February and we will return next year to Hobart and run the program again.


Hobart Outreach Program Launch

Launching today, ten schools and over 250 children with disabilities will take part in our annual Hobart Outreach Program. This is the second year it has been held, with WOT EVA carrying children in wheelchairs. All children have a chance to steer the boat, wind the winches, help lift and lower the sails. 

SWD founder David Pescud says this is often a once in a lifetime experience for these children.

Winds of Change Blowing in Sydney

School bags dusted off, uniforms aired, sunhats reshaped and it’s official—the 2017 school year has begun. SWD wasted no time in welcoming students, back at school for just a week, on sailing programs in Sydney and Melbourne.

Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race 2016

This year is the 31st running of the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.The race starts tomorrow, Saturday, 30 July, on Sydney Harbour at 1pm and Sailors with disABILITIES will be racing with a full crew of people with disabilities and able-bodied people on WOT EVA.


SWD Newsletter March-May

  • Queensland dates for schools
  • Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Partnership
  • Launching SWD Melbourne at Docklands
  • Winds of Joy Melbourne
  • Letter from Vermont South Special School
  • ​On-Water ​Volunteers Needed:​ Melbourne Queensland and Hobart​
  • Xylem on Board in 2016
  • ASX Thomson Reuters Foundation Charity
  • A New Look at Impact​: Check our figures if you like!

Bookings Open for Northern Campaign 2016

We have opened bookings for Winds of Joy sailing days for children with disability from schools in Southport, Coffs Harbour, Rosslyn Bay, Mackay and Gladstone.

SWD September Newsletter

In this newsletter you'll read about:

  • NSW Volunteer Team of the Year Award
  • Sydney to Hobart preparation
  • Volunteer Interview
  • Northern Campaign wrap up
  • Testimonials: drawings by children in the Northern Campaign
  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, SWD Patron

Volunteer Profile: Kristi Foster

What made you want to volunteer with SWD? I believe in the ethos of SWD with my very soul. Having been there, physically disabled, and still struggling day to day with crippling pain, I bring a unique perspective to their struggles, too.

Northern Campaign: Newcastle

"They loved it. It allowed the frightened children to push themselves in a nurturing environment. They didn't see crew as people with disabilities and they don't see themselves as people with disabilities. It was nice for them to see people with disabilities doing exciting stuff and for that to be normal. It was very empowering."

Northern Campaign 2016 Launches

SWD launches its Northern Campaign on July 21, an outreach program for children with disabilities. This is an annual effort that takes the yacht, Kayle, and SWD volunteers who crew it from Sydney to Rosslyn Bay, Mackay, Southport and Coffs Harbour during the next 8 weeks. Called Winds of Joy, SWD runs this same program every year, as we have for over 18 years.


August Newsletter: Award Wins!

In our August news you'll read about volunteer awards shortlist nominees, interviews with volunteers, Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race story, ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation partnership and winning NSW Minister's Volunteer Management Award for a state sporting organisation.

Winds of Joy Fluttering in Melbourne

In Melbourne, Winds of Joy, our sailing program for children with disabilities, kicked off our year with sailing sessions on Monday and Tuesday on board our specially adapted yacht, Ninety Seven.

SWD at Australia Day 2017

The 2017 Australian of the Year (centre) is an incredible individual whose scientific research has helped restore mobility in a quadriplegic man in Australia. Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, a biomecular scientist, was named Australian of the Year on January 25 at an event at Parliament House in Canberra for his life work researching stem cells. His research has led to world-first treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Fundraising Appeal Thank You!

We wish to thank everyone who donated to our appeal to fix Kayle's keel. All donations, large and small, contributed to an excellent outcome for SWD and will mean we can run programs for children again as soon as possible and, hopefully, join the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race at the end of 2017.

21 Years of SWD Website in Collaboration with UTS

To celebrate the first Winds of Joy sailing program for children with disability in Hobart, a major milestone in the history of the organisation, today Sailors with disABILITITES is launching a unique, digital archive of its first 21 years: 21 Years of SWD.

Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race Day 2016

SWD was invited to have a tent at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on Boxing Day for the start of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Sydney to Sydney Challenge 2015

The Sydney to Sydney Challenge was an event in which Sailors with disABILITIES set out to set a world record for the Sydney to Lord Howe Island passage with a crew of 10 in a mono-hull yacht, the TP-52 WOT EVA. 

Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2015

Sailors with disABILITIES embarks on its 22nd Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day. The crew of 16 on Kayle, skippered by John Whitfeld, trained throughout 2015  under John's skilful and encouraging guidance. According to the official race site, "the 628 nautical mile course is often described as the most gruelling long ocean race in the world, a challenge to everyone who takes part."

SWD Let's Act Campaign Enters Final 36 Hours

After a hard campaign, we have almost reached our goal of raising $1500 through the Bendigo Bank's Let's Act initiative. 

We are currently sitting on $1094, just $406 away from getting over the line. We know that our supporters believe strongly in our mission, so we are asking that everyone show that support by sharing the link to our project, spreading the word with their friends, or even providing just a gold coin donation themselves by jumping onto the Let's Act website!...

Victorian College for the Deaf

The SWD Melbourne team had the pleasure of accompanying students and teachers from the Victorian College For The Deaf for two sails to finish off the Winds Of Joy series for the year last week.

Finished the 2015 Rolex Sydney to Hobart

SWD wishes to thank you for your support for the SWD crew in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) from the 26th – 30th December, 2015. Words of encouragement expressed in emails, messages, phone calls, and comments, likes, and shares on social media to SWD has been incredible and unprecedented.

Lake Illawarra High School Winds of Change Success!

This experience has been a wonderful for the kids from our school. Traditionally they’re very afraid to challenge themselves for fear of failure. I cannot believe how willing they’ve been to meet this challenge head on and it’s corresponding to different areas of their lives.

Peninsula Living Piece

SWD was featured in the Peninsula Living Magazine, supporting SWD's call out for volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, email

SWD opens permanent office in Sydney

SWD is excited to announce that we have a permanent office for the first time since the organisation was established 22 years ago, thanks to d’Alboras Marinas. The office, located at 1B New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay, will be staffed most of the time throughout the week by SWD staff and volunteers. 

Melbourne Program Feedback

The teacher explained that it’s difficult to find new and challenging experiences for their students, particularly when beforehand they have no idea what to expect. After the experience, the teaacher said, “Sailing is so inclusive, active and team oriented."

How Winds of Change Helps Change Lives: Skye

Skye is a lot more confident in her school work and she opted to do Duke of Edinburgh as well. She never would have done that before Winds of Change.

How Winds of Change Helps Change Lives: Sean

Sean has a pretty difficult home life and has traditionally had a lot of anger problems. He’s developed control and learned so much about himself since Winds of Change. He is walking away from situations that he would have taken on head on—confrontations...

SWD at the Wooden Boat Show, Hobart

The highly coveted Australian Wooden Boat Festival returned to Hobart on the 6th of February. The Wooden Boat Show helped us build relationships, partnerships, school connections and volunteers to help us bring the Hobart Outreach Program to reality after the Sydney to Hobart this year.  

SWD's First Crowdfunding Campaign Succeeds

As of today, our very first crowdfunding campaign, run through a partnership with Bendigo Bank's Let's Act initiative, has been successful! When we set out to fund a Try Sail Day to take a group of children out onto the harbour, we were hopeful that the generous support of our followers, fans and friends would be enough to reach our goal; we are thrilled that we exceeded that goal and have raised over 140% of our crowdfunding amount, meaning that we will recieve the pledged funds and we will have the chance to create new opportunities.

We wish to thank everyone who contributed, whether through making a donation or sharing information on our campaign. You are the true strength of SWD, and we can't overstate our appreciation!

Springvale Park SDS in Melbourne Winds of Joy

Springvale Park Special Developmental School came on board our yacht Ninety Seven. Young skipper Connor sang a tune as he steered the boat along the Yarra. His classmates jumped on the winch and steered.

Photos From The Sydney Hobart!

With the 2014 Sydney Hobart Race behind us, we are starting to enjoy the amazing photos, videos and content created by our intrepid crew throughout the voyage! We'll be posting these more and more as soon as we get them, but for now the star of the show is crew member Brett Whiteley's Go Pro Camera, which captured some incredible visuals of the race and the people who got us out there!

Check them out after the jump, and as always we'd love to hear your thoughts!

Xylem on Board with SWD

Xylem Australia, a key sponsor of SWD, came on board twice this December and new and old faces and friends at Xylem experienced SWD’s work first hand. Xylem’s support is having a direct impact on making Australia a better place for its youth. This year alone SWD worked with over 2,231 children in its Winds of Joy programs across Australia.

ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation 2016/2017

SWD is proud to announce its 2016/2017 partnership with the ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation. As part of this, SWD will be the recipient of funds raised in the Foundation's Art Union draw. You can buy tickets to win great prizes in the draw here: click here to go to SWD's official prize page.


Help us Raise Funds to Fix Our Keel

We need to raise $12,000 to fix the keel on our main program boat, Kayle, and we are hoping you may be willing to help us do that. Kayle runs Winds of Joy and Winds of Change programs in Sydney, northern NSW, Queensland and Hobart for over 2100 children each year.

Oceans Of Hope for Multiple Sclerosis

Our very own Greg Pugh is sailing aboard the Oceans of Hope yacht on the America Samoa leg.

‘Oceans of Hope’ is a Danish initiative that sees a yacht, crewed by people with Multiple Sclerosis, circumnavigate the planet.

Volunteer Team of the Year NSW Winners!

 From a group of 20 teams across NSW, it was genuinely surprising when Sailors with disABILITIES Winds of Joy and Winds of Change teams were named as the winners of Volunteer Team of the Year, NSW, from among the 20 finalists.

2015 Landrover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race

Sailors with disABILITIES participated and completed the 2015 LandRover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race with a crew of fifteen on board Kayle, a 52ft Lyons grand prix offshore racing yacht purpose built for disabled people. 

CYCA and Sailors with disAbilities Announce Partnership

"The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is pleased to announce Sailors with disAbilities (SWD) has been officially endorsed as a preferred charity of the Club. While the CYCA and SWD have had an informal relationship of support for many years, the official partnership provides SWD with guaranteed resources and assistance which will give stronger foundations to its programs and planning."

Annual report 2014-2015

Sailors with disABILITIES 2014-2015 Annual Report is available for download.

Winds of Joy in Sydney, November 2016

Verney Road School traveled to Sydney by bus and plane and stayed for a week during which they came on board SWD Sydney’s Winds of Joy program. Daniel got into everything from steering to bow work, including furling the head sail. He really did a great job on the boat from bow to stern.

SWD Launches in Melbourne

Early March, SWD travelled to Melbourne to engage and interact with some exciting new people and meet some new faces. Along with making some strong connections, the team has been running pilot programs aboard the yacht, Kayle, for Victoria’s many extraordinary children.  

The trip has been a long time coming, with many schools from Melbourne expressing interest in climbing aboard. This promptedSwd volunteers and crew to travel to Melbourne and run programs for three weeks, with the hope of establishing a permanent presence in our new base at Port Phillip.

Help SWD Win by Voting

Would you be willing to help SWD win $10k in cash and $15k in audio and video conferencing? The cash will help us run more programs for children with disabilities, and conferencing will help us communicate with schools and volunteers across NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

Volunteer Profile: Jacqueline Ann Wilson

This is the first in a series of interviews with Sailors with disABILITIES volunteers. In this interview you will meet Jacqueline, a crew and on-water program volunteer with SWD. Click here to volunteer with SWD.

Lake Illawarra High School Winds of Change

"This experience has been absolutely wonderful for our students. Traditionally they’re very very afraid to challenge themselves for fear of failure. I cannot believe how willing they’ve been to meet this challenge head on..."

Dreamed of Sailing the Sydney to Hobart?

Dreamed of sailing in the Sydney to Hobart? Sailors with disABILITIES participates in the Sydney Hobart yacht race each year with a combined crew of people with disability and able-bodied crew members

“Old dogs, New tricks: Sailing as an avenue to engage the disengaged”

Postgraduate Physiotherapy students from the University of Melbourne, in partnership with SWD, this year completed a community health project conducting a health needs analysis (HNA) of SWD's “Winds Of Change” on-water program.

ASX Regatta

On Friday 18th November, SWD yachts participated in the ASX Financial and Media Markets Charity Regatta.

How WInds of Joy Helps Change Lives: Hobart

This interaction [on Winds of Joy] with school support staff was very positive and allowed staff to continue to build a relationship based on trust, security and understanding that has continued all year. She has been at school every day since and has now become a valuable mentor to two other students with disability. Sailing allowed her to succeed and also to feel valued.

Seeking Hobart Outreach Volunteer Crew


We need you! Sailors With disABILITIES will be back in Hobart in 2017 running Winds of Joy programs from 15th-28th February. This program offers children with disabilities and disadvantaged people an opportunity to enjoy the freedom, teamwork and adventure of sailing.

Finished 2016 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

At 11:52:22 on 2 August, the SWD crew on WOT EVA finished the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in 22nd position overall and 8th on PHS. It was an achievement to finish.


SWD Launches Hobart Pilot Program Tomorrow

Sailors with disABILITIES is launching its first Winds of Joy program in Hobart tomorrow, Monday 15th of February. Running for two weeks until February 26, Winds of Joy Hobart will give young people with disability in Tasmania the opportunity to experience the joy of sailing in a session sailing on board Kayle, a yacht designed especially for people with disabilities, able to accommodate up to 5 wheelchairs at a time.

Volunteer Profile: Jay Okamoto

The second in a series of interviews with Sailors with disABILITIES volunteers. In this interview you will meet Jay, a crew and on-water program volunteer with SWD. Click here if you're interested in volunteering with SWD.

SWD Melbourne Christmas Party

SWD Melbourne volunteers, staff and friends celebrated a fantastic year at their Christmas Party in Melbourne this week. The Melbourne team had one of the largest increases of volunteers ever in one year of SWD and saw over 500 children come through their programs.

SWD on 7 News in Mackay!

7 News Mackay hopped on board with Mackay North SHS and Sailors with disABILITIES to tell you this story about what we do and why we do it. Thanks to the students, teachers, our hard working volunteers, and 7 News Mackay for telling the SWD story! Thanks Crewsaver Australia for supplying the PFDs students use in our programs.

Winds of Joy in Melbourne

On Monday 28 November, SWD Melbourne hosted students and teachers from Southern Autistic School on Ninety Seven in Winds of Joy, our transformative sailing program`for children and young people with disabilities.