Last weekend, AJS ACT had the opportunity to be part of Sailability Australia’s Friendship Cup, a fantastic and very meaningful event, not just for the Canberra community but also for Australia-Japan relations.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the group, Sailability is a worldwide non-for-profit organisation whose aim is to enrich the lives of all people through sailing, regardless of age, socioeconomic background or ability. In particular, they put a large focus on people with a disability. The boats are specially designed to be simple, comfortable, and accessible to people with limited mobility, and the docks are modified to allow for wheelchair access. Apparently they don’t capsize either, though it took our president some convincing! There is a great introduction video here if you’d like to learn more.
The ACT branch operates from the shores of Lake Tuggeranong, and boasts some of the world’s top sailors! For anyone who wants to get involved, you can find more information about Sailability ACT here.
This year the AJS ACT was invited along to help welcome the 40 guests visiting from Japan for the Friendship Cup. The delegates spent around a week in Australia, first in Sydney where they visited the Opera House and other sights, and then to Canberra for the main event. Japanese students from Radford College welcomed our visitors at a reception on Friday night, which was also attended by Mr. Alistair Coe MLA, Leader of the Opposition in the ACT Legislative Assembly and Mr. Tadayuki Miyashita, minister at the Embassy of Japan. A big thanks to everyone who was involved on the night – I am sure the guests felt warmly welcomed!
The Friendship Cup was held over the weekend and we couldn’t have asked for better weather – sunny and 27°C with a slight breeze to keep things moving. While the races were the main event, many of our members also accompanied the guests on a tour around Canberra where they visited Regatta Point and the National Museum.
Thank you to Terry Peek. You certainly taught us that Sailability was for people of any ability – we were the most inexperience bunch out that didn’t stop us from having a great time. We definitely look forward to working with Sailability again in the future.