Sailors with disABILITIES

Latest News

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 Fire 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 fire fighting training and sail making seminars. 


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.



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.


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.


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. 

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.

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. 



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.”

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!

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!"

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.

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...

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.

SWD November News

All the SWD News for November - fantastic raffle result, creating optimism this spring, faceboat contest, welcome to our new volunteers, thank you sponosrs and get involved in the Rotary Regatta, sponsorship opportunity. 

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.

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.

Wot Eva - Northern Campaign

Sailing is always magic for me, there is some mystique.  On some days, sometimes, some nights it’s extra special, for instance, when you‘ve got a nice light head breeze, with slightly cracked sheets on a darkened sea under a black velvet sky, highlighted by a thousand stars.  So it was in this year’s Sydney to Southport.  It was a beautiful race, beautiful conditions and Wot Eva performed very well.

Northern Campaign 2012 and KAYLE Working Bee

Letter from David Leslie, President SWD, to all Members and Volunteers who participated in the Northern Campaign 2012 and KAYLE Working Bee.

SWD April Newsletter

Read all the SWD news including CYCA Winter Series, Hobart 2013 , Northern Campaign 2013, Volunteer Positions Vacant, Name Me Competition and more.

Good Luck Northern Campaign 2013

On Thursday 4 July the SWD Crew of Volunteers will commence their Northern Campaign journey for the 16th time.  Good luck crew. 

CYCA Winter Series and Sydney Hobart 2014

Crew call for CYCA Winter Series and 2014 Rolex Sydney Harbour aspirants

SWD Members News May 2014

A huge thank you to our volunteers. New volunteer opportunities announced. 

Report on Try Sail, Winds of Change, Northern Campaign and Soldier on.

Successful WestPac grant and WotEva is ready to race.

News June 2014

Volunteers are the backbone of SWD - without you we can't run our programs. It's that simple. Just this month alone Try Sail, Winds of Change, Solider On, Northern Campaign preparation and Winter Series racing are all happening thanks to volunteers.

Read Sharon's story about how voluteering with SWD has offered her a new path in life.

Members News June 2014


So many people love the faceboat project and wanted to tell the story behind their photo that we decided to add a new element to faceboat - an online community. 

Congratulations to all the participants who completed the recent Sea Safety and Survivial course. 

Just a reminder that you are all invited to join us for SWD team drinks THIS SUNDAY at RANSA from 4-6pm.

Southport kids love faceboat

Kids from schools in Southport enjoy fantastic times out on faceboat as part of SWD's Northern Campaign. Sitting on the rail and dipping their feet in the water as a pod of dolphins swim by was a huge highlight.

Great Sydney Boat Show

It was fantastic to see so many of you at the Sydney Boat Show.

The SWD stand was busy for the full 5 days with many people jumping on board the raffle prize 'Amazing Grace'... standing behind the wheel... and imagining their new lifestyle as the lucky winner.

We heard lots of comments from ticket buyers along the lines of...

"It's great to think that my $100 donation will give 2 kids with disability the opportunity get to go out sailing for the day. And if I win a yacht as well...even better!"

Northern Campaign Latest

Northern Campaign Crew Updates

- Kristi Foster talks about the trip up to Southport

- Harry Atkinson describes his four nights on faceboat

- Ian Wyard tells a very witty fisherman's tale and talks about the cool wheelchairs on board

- David Pescud describes the effect of childrens' laughter

- Steve Emmett wonders if Dicpario was on board and finally the

- Captain Mark Goode made us all smile and think a bit deeper with his Captain's log updates

Raffle Huge Success

A massive THANK YOU to everyone who bought tickets and volunteered their time to make the Windcraft yacht raffle such a huge success.

David Pescud said he was very humbled by the support of the sailing community as he accepted the cheque for $174,550.73 on behalf of SWD from Peter Hrones of Windcraft.

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.

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.


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."

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.

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."

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.

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.


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...

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 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.

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."

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.

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...

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.


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

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. 

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...


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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

faceboat arrives Hobart

An elated crew have arrived Constitution Dock

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!

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!

Wot Eva Finishes Sydney Hobart 2014

"It was an interesting race, some really lovely champagne sailing mixed with very fierce downhill speed stuff, Mark Thompson hit the top speedy of 26.6 knots, followed by Mr George Johnstone 25 knots"

- David Pescud
we are so proud of our 2014 crew who have sailed into the finish of the 2014 Sydney Hobart race in position 20 line honours to finish out an incredible year for SWD! What a great feeling for the whole crew, we couldn't be happier. We will be releasing photos as soon as we have them!

News Jan 2014

Faceboat Third in Hobart

faceboat had a fabulous sail down to Hobart this year and came a very respectable third.

The crew loved having the sea of faces on the side of the boat willing them on during 4 days at sea.

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.

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. 

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.


SWD launches innovative fundraising campaign: faceboat

Always dreamed of racing in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart, jump on board

Wot Eva's Standing

Line Honours

What a great first day of the race! We've had some fine conditions through the night, and this morning has found Wot Eva sitting pretty in her standing at number 25! You can see the full stats here on the Rolex Sydney Hobart website!

The crew are powering on this morning, and we are anticipating a great day for sailing. We'll be posting some photos from the deck just as soon as we get them in, so stay tuned for those.

ABC RN Breakfast: SWD and the Sydney Hobart 2014

As the crews of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race gear up for another gruelling contest this Boxing Day, there's one crew with an even more ambitious goal than just getting to Tasmania in good time.

Wot Eva Jumps To 23

We are thrilled with our Line Honours standing this morning, as Wot Eva has soared ahead through the night and is now sitting three places ahead of her position when we signed off yesterday! By now, the crew are roughly half way to Hobart, and spirits are high. The 2014 Race has been incredible so far, and the amazing messages of support that we've received over our Facebook have really spread good cheer!

As we move further into the trek, we'll start to see the pressure mount, with now around 8 Yachts having withdrawn from the Race. However, we are confident that the good ship Wot Eva will be sticking with it to the end, and we know our crew will keep working as hard as they can to bring her sailing into Hobart!

Video Of Wot Eva

Wot Eva Sail

We've got some great video content from one of our supporters who was on the ground on our launch day!

Check it out after the jump and you'll be able to see some of our crew and our boat on it's way into the race!

We would really like to take this opportunity to thank the team at Xylem for their support, as well as all of our other sponsors, donors and backers who have made our work possible throughout the leadup to the Sydney Hobart.

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.

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."

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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."

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’.

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.

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

Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch win Paralympics SKUD18 gold

Australia's Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch won SKUD18 gold on the penultimate day of racing at the Paralympic Sailing Competition with a race to spare. SWD congratulates Dan and Leisl on their fantastic victory in the Paralympics. Liesl sailed with SWD in the 2009 ROLEX Sydney to Hobart yacht race, and has proven once again, that disabled are able.

News July 2014

SWD and faceboat news: come and see us at Sydney International Boat Show, Winds of Change sucess, Save up to $134 on Brokenwood wine and lots of good times on the water

What a ride! What an experience! WOW!!

Hobart Report by Crew Member David D'Annunzio

faceboat Sailors with disABILITIES

faceboat Sailors with disABILITIES can now be viewed at its berth at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

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 Regatta

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

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.

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.

Flinders Islet Race

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It is the mechanism that allows us to look back at a set of circumstances and work out a better way of doing it. That is what this article attempts to build a better mouse trap.

A Message From The Deck

We received this message from David this morning:
"Good night sailing, in the company of other boats. The Sun is shining, there's a good breeze, almost a cruise! All crew are well and enjoying the race, still some miles and work to be done!"
The crew are feeling excellent, and we are doing our best to get your messages of support out to them to keep everyone inspired and working as hard as they can. We want to make our supporters proud of us!
We'd especially like to acknowledge all of our volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year to get us to the Sydney Hobart Race, we couldn't do this without you.
Congrats to Wild Oats, sitting in the lead today, and good luck to everyone else!


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. 

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!...

SWD scoops QLD Award

Mim Kane, our Treasurer, travelled to the Gold Coast to collect an award  for Sailors with disAbilities from The Spinal Injuries Association of Qld. 

The award was for "The Best Sporting Facility".  This was in appreciation for the great days of sailing enjoyed by many of their members.  Spinal Injuries Association of Queensland cannot wait for the boat to return to Qld next year and they are all lining up for another sail.

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.  

RIP Joe Adams

SWD began in 1994 when David Pescud heard a radio interview suggesting a disabled team enter the 50th anniversary Sydney to Hobart Race that year. David’s yacht “Carpe Diem” was a 16.2m Adams-Radford design. Over the following years Carpe Diem was customised and optimised with the help of the Adams/Radford team to become one of the most competitive yachts on the East Coast of Australia.  RIP Joe Adams

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.

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 AGM and Christmas Party

SWD had a wonderful AGM & Sydney Christmas Party at RANSA in Sydney on December 11. Volunteers, supporters, families and staff made it a joyous occasion and there was much success to celebrate. SWD volunteers contributed over 5,100 hours of time in the 2015/2016 financial year.

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.

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..."

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.

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD) will be held on Sunday 11 December at 4pm at Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association (RANSA), New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay.


“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.

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. 

SWD beneficiaries of St George Foundation

Thanks to our friends at St George, SWD were the grateful recipients of a cheque for over $30,000 from the St George Foundation.  Check out their article around the Sydney Golf Classic in August on the St George Foundation's Facebook Page for more information and photos from this event.

faceboat Departs for Hobart

Check out all the photos of their final preps and departure.

Annual report 2014-2015

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

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.

SWD Annual General Meeting Notice

The Annual General Meeting of Sailors with disABILITIES will be held on Sunday 6 December at 4pm at Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association (RANSA), New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay. 

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.

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.

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

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.

Buy Your Entertainment Book from SWD

Help SWD with our fundraising efforts, buy your 2013/2014 Entertainment Book from SWD today.

Today Show: Inspirational Sailor

Grace Kennedy shares her Kate Winslet moments with Today.  

Malcolm Turnbull welcomed as SWD Patron

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP was onshore Saturday 3 December to celebrate International Day of People with Disability with the well-known organisation, Sailors with disAbilities (SWD).

faceboat Wins 3rd Place PHS Div 1

Congratulations Team, we are all very proud.

News May 2014

Intensive Winds of Change report - read about a great week with the Clontarf Foundation.

You can also read Kristi's story of how she owes her life to sailing. 

Details of how to enter the yacht raffle and how to support SWD through the Dick Smith Foundation

SWD Celebrates 10 Years as World Record Holder

Congratulations to the SWD 03 Crew, World Record Holder Circumnavigation of Australia, unassisted.

News February 2014

Grace Kennedy continues to inspire young sailors as she sails on into life's challenges. It seems that facing huge swells in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart this year has not put her off at all.

Ever Wondered Why David Pescud Does What he Does? Read David's story here.

So where is SWD on the road to Hobart?

We had this motley crew who have come a long way over the last four months. Now we have a good team of yachtsman. We have put our boat back together. Those who have stuck around have put themselves and the team back together. We were having a drink of lemonade at Southport Yacht club and I could not help but feel proud of what we had achieved.

Congratulations S2H Crew from SWD General Manager

SWD General Manager, Lucia Lee congratulates the SWD Sydney To Hobart Crew

Rolex Sydney To Hobart - Race Results

Congratulations to The Sailors with disABILITIES Crew finishing in 26 Place.  It was a hard but successful race.

And We're Off!


SWD's crew have now left the dock in Wot Eva and are preparing to begin the Sydney Hobart 2014 race! We will keep you updated right here on the website with photos, news and updates as we go, so make sure you keep on checking back! If you want to share messages of support to the crew, you can do so on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages!

Check out our Flickr gallery of the Wot Eva's crew!!

You can also view our tracker for the Wot Eve here, to see where the boat is at every point in the journey.

Lastly, to find out more information about Wot Eva, click here!





You can win a car! SWD teams with ASX Thomson Reuters charity

SWD is proud to announce a 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 the link to read more

Our Launch Photos

We have launched the Wot Eva! Our Flickr gallery is online now, so you can check out some photos of our Boxing Day launch for the Sydney Hobart! You can see some of the incredible photos of the day in our online photo album right here! Alternatively, there are more photos just after the jump, so click Read More!


International Day of People with Disability

Mark your support of all people with disability today by jumping on board faceboat and uploading your photo, you will be supporting over 3,000 kids with disability and disadvantaged youth sailing with SWD every year. Only 5 days to go to get your face on the hull of Kayle racing in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart there is no better day to jump on board.  

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.

NC2012 The Report

The NC2012 started with a week in Coffs Harbour with strong 30-40kt winds so we were confined to dockside activities. Towards the end of the week we were able to cruise around the harbour where we tried out using the joystick helm control.

News April 2014

Team Windcraft have just announced their second yacht raffle this time in support of SWD.

Read Brett Whitely's story of recovery a few short months after losing his arm and leg.

Details of how to enter the yacht raffle and how to support SWD through the Dick Smith Foundation

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.

faceboat Current Leader of PHS Division

At 10.22PM faceboat Sailors with disABILITIES leads their division. 

Report on the Grounding of Wot Eva

The Report on the grounding of the yacht "Woteva" which took place on the 8th October 2011, by  David Pescud

SWD hosts Intermain at PIF Regatta

SWD donated Kayle & a core crew of volunteers to the annual PIF Regatta. 

Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2012 Skippers Report

Report on Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2012 Race by SWD Boat Skipper, David Pescud

Nicky Steers Kayle with Remote

Nicky from Wairoa School was the first to steer Kayle using the new remote control steerer today.  Go Nicky

SWD now on Youtube!!

There are lots of videos of Sailors with disABILITIES' boats and projects on our Youtube channel “swdsailing” for your viewing pleasure. Click here to view our new Youtube Channel or read more to view.  We hope you enjoy what you see...

Fun Sponsorship Opportunity

Sponsor a Yacht in Rotary Charity Regatta

Sponsor a boat, have a fabulous afternoon AND help SWD.

12-15 staff can enjoy lunch at the CYCA and racing on Sydney Harbour.  Sponsors are encouraged to dress crew in polos, caps, spray jackets to generate their corporate feel for the day.

A cool idea for an end of year corporate event - you can even sponsor 2 boats for some in-house competition.

Please reference SWD in your enquiry to the regatta organisers or email for more information.

Raffle Winner Announced

Congratulations John Scott

The Windcraft Raffle was drawn at the CYCA on 14th September.

The winning ticket was number 1452 - John Scott from Sydney.

John wins a Hanse 345 yacht worth over $250,000.

A huge thanks to everyone who bought a ticket and to Windcraft for supporting SWD with this hugely successful fund raiser. 

faceboat survives high winds

faceboat update for the Rolex Sydney Hobart

Sydney Hobart 2014

We are excited to be gearing up for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race!

Preparations are under way as we approach the Boxing Day launch, and our crew are slotting in their last training sessions before the race. As we move into one of the busiest times of the year for SWD, we know all our supporters will be eagerly awaiting details of the race and the voyage. You can check out our full coverage of the lead up to the race and the latest from the crew right here!

We will be announcing our full crew roster on Monday, and with it we will start to share some of their inspiring stories.


Smiles and storms on faceboat

Our last port was Gladstone, a major shipping area for Queensland. Many of the children who came for day sailing on board 'Kayle' were from mining, shipping and working class families. 
After many years in a thankless job as a cop, the many smiles, genuine thanks and gratitude I received from the children and carers brought tears to my eyes as I realized I had found a new calling in life. 
To be part of creating change and optimism amongst people with disabilities through sailing is a great honour and although the crew and I have had our challenges we remain firm to the cause.

AGM Notification 2014

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of Sailors with disABILITIES will be held on Sunday 14 December at 5pm at Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association (RANSA), New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay. 

A Christmas Party for SWD Members, supporters and family will follow from 6pm - 8pm

To participate in the meeting (vote and/or nominate) you must be a current Financial Member of SWD. To renew your Membership, please login to the website with your username and password. 



Last Chance to Win a Yacht and Support SWD

Last Chance! Win a Yacht for $100 Support SWD

This week is your LAST CHANCE to support SWD by entering the Windcraft Raffle.

Your $100 raffle ticket means 2 kids with disability get out sailing for a day.

And you never know you could win a Hanse 345 yacht ready to sail away with 12 months Club Marine insurance.

The proceeds from every ticket sold go straight to supporting SWD's programs. 

Buy Your Ticket here

faceboat arrives safely in Southport

faceboat and the Northern Campign Crew arrive safely in Southport after a bumpy ride North - the crew were all a bit seasick but arrived in great spirits and quickly made the most of the warm weather to dry out their wet gear

NSW Boating Plan Survey

Invitation to provide your input, survey closes this Sunday 13 April.

John's week on faceboat

I can say without doubt we had a win with every single one of them. The smiles we coaxed out of the kids and their teachers/carers made the personal and group effort very worthwhile. In all my time with SWD, recently and in the past, I have never felt that I and the crew have achieved so much success with a diverse range of youngsters with disabilities.

Hobart 2012 Crew Announcement

David Pescud has announced the Crew that will fly the SWD sail to Hobart on Boxing Day.

Congratulations to all Crew that have been selected and we wish you a safe and fast trip to Hobart.

2012 Sports Awards

Congratulations to Dan Fitzgibbon & Liesl Tesch (Sailing) – for winning the 2012 Team Of The Year with a Disability. 

From the Helm of Woteva

A few people have asked me about Port Stephens and how are we situated. I will try to pull together the answer for you all in a few words.

The first thing sailing on WOTEVA has to be FUN. We have to sail well as a team. I think we want to sail with a rock star team not a bunch of rock stars.

SWD's latest project

SWD opening a whole new world of challenges, skills and discovery .... 2011 saw us pilot a new and exciting initiative, we partnered with Lomandra School to work with young people who have disengaged from learning.