You never know that your bedding is warm until you’re cold. It seems to me our world is a comparative thing, we use comparisons to measure everything. We get the knowledge of comparisons through living, we call it life. The more comparisons, the richer our lives. I have decided to enter my parents, Frances and Bill Williams into this competition.Read more
Kirk Watson is an accomplished sailor. His first sail down the Australian coast was at the tender age of 7 in a 32 foot motor sailor... and he's been on the water every spare moment since. Kirk sharpened his sailing skills through years of successful racing on Pittwater.
So his progression to skippering a 54 footer in the 2013 Sydney to Hobart yacht race might seem par for the course... except for one small detail.
Kirk is legally blind.
Watson started losing his sight in his 20s through retinitis pigmentosa a condition affecting around 1 in 3000 Australians. And now at 40 he cannot see at all. Many people allow a disability like blindness to define them. Not Kirk.Read more
I’d like to nominate my Dad Simon as the most inspirational person in my life. My Mom has bipolar disorder which means her moods are erratic, she often drinks and we never really know what’s coming next. She refuses to take her medication even though 3 doctors have told her she should. Mom’s condition meant our childhood was chaotic – but my Dad was our rock – our calm in the storm – a safe haven of love and kindness.Read more
Brett Whiteley lost his right leg and arm in an accident in November 2013. He started sailing with sailors with disABILITIES in February 2014 and is now training hard each weekend with the SWD Hobart team and hoping to earn a much coveted place in the gruelling race. In June 2014 Henri Lloyd very generously supported Brett's campaign by donating a full set of Henri Lloyd Offshore Elite gear to Brett.Read more
Well Northern Campaign 2014 has bought out a period of great personal growth for me, and the funny thing is it wasn't about me! It was supposed to be about enriching the lives of kids! But as a curious side effect I have grown a lot as a human and this is not just me. It is a side effect of a lot of people who embark on this journey year after year. I feel (as does the likes of Dalai Lama) that when one does selfless service to others less fortunate than oneself, one cannot help but to benefit. The cosmic karma maybe!Read more
David credits SWD with giving him a better appreciation of what people can achieve. Being an SWD member has shown him first-hand that the human spirit is more powerful than the body.Read more
Peter Behr began volunteering when he was 18 years old. His personal obligation to help others kept him affiliated with various sailing clubs and organisations including the Scouts, school P&C associations and most recently, the SES and SWD.Read more
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.Read more
What is it about childrens' laughter?... It has to be the most infectious thing. Recently, on the Northern Campaign, I had the opportunity to see a second and third element contribute to and enrich that sound of laughter. Making it three dimensional, maybe even four - the laughter, the sun, the sea spray and the movement of the boat all coming together, just to the east of Mackay harbour.Read more
As I was keen as mustard to do some more sailing, Mark allowed me to bring Kayle hard up on the wind. This is when we noticed that we had a new introduction to the crew behind us. We don’t know when we caught it but on our trawling line there was a beautiful Spanish mackerel, 1 metre long and it got everyone very excited.Read more
Northern Campaign Skipper Mark says working with SWD has opened his eyes to what can be achieved. He is amazed at how an activity like sailing can benefit people so greatly, particularly those living…Read More
Brett was just 44 when he lost his right arm and leg in a head-on collision with a ute. The ute was overtaking and didn't see Brett coming the other way. A few short months later, he was out racing with…Read More
I have an inherited disability called CMT (Charcot Marie Toothe Syndrome) which is a neuro-muscular condition affecting mainly the legs and hands to varying degrees. I have weaknesses in my calves and…Read More
Grace Kennedy was born with Spina Bifida and has used a wheelchair for mobility 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…Read More
David credits SWD with giving him a better appreciation of what people can achieve. Being an SWD member has shown him first-hand that the human spirit is more powerful than the body.Read More
I had never been on a yacht before but I realised I could put sails up, pull on ropes, and make things do things. As it turned out sailing opened up a window... which opened a door... which opened a bigger…Read More
Kristi Foster broke her back when she was just 21. Then just 16 weeks after surgery to repair her spine, she was in a car accident and broke her back and neck again.Read More
Kirk Watson is an accomplished sailor. His first sail down the Australian coast was at the tender age of 7 in a 32 foot motor sailor... and he's been on the water every spare moment since. Kirk sharpened…Read More
After participating in the Try Sail day, Chelsea came home and could not stop talking about it. It was such a wonderful time, and she felt secure and stable on the bigger boat. Every time she sees a boat…Read More
Mark enjoys his association with SWD for many reasons. In his words, the crew "don't get inflated syndrome by big-noting their achievements - despite their significance." Put simply, "SWD is a really…Read More