Freedom on the water

About Sailability Gold Coast

Sailability Gold Coast took more than 3 years of commitment and determination by a handful of people (read about them here) ultimately achieving formal incorporation in March 2000 – the first Sailability in QLD.

Today, on average 80 people with a wide range of disability sail (or motor) on the water with us every week and they share their experience with 60+ volunteers on any one day.

The Sailability Story

The origins of ‘Sailability’ as we know it today can be traced back to the United Kingdom in the early 1980’s.  Ian Harrison MBE and several of his colleagues founded a competitive sailing organisation for people with disability.  They named it ‘Sailability’ after the British disability driving organisation ‘Motability’.   The original logo is that used by Sailability in Australia today.  Ian’s overriding aim was that no person with disability should be denied the opportunity to sail.

​At the beginning of 2018 RYA Sailability had 178 accredited United Kingdom sites.

Sailability Established in Victoria

In the early 1990’s Campbell Rose, a member of the board of the then Australian Yachting Federation (now Australian Sailing) asked his father, Dr Alan Rose, to investigate establishing Sailability in Australia.  Alan did so and in 1991 the Victorian Yachting Council established a Sailability group at Albert Part Lake in Melbourne. The group remained small and local despite it then being called ‘Sailability Australia’. Today they operate as ‘The Boatshed’.

By 2000, Sailability Victoria had been incorporated as a charity while continuing to operate as a committee of Yachting Victoria. At the start of 2018 there were 28 Sailability organisations in Victoria, mainly operating in conjunction with local yacht clubs.

In Queensland

In 1997, Wyn Treasure, Commodore Southport Yacht Club (SYC), worked with other SYC members, Dr Graeme Syvier and Dr David Straton who had donated an Access 2.3 to the Cerebral Palsy League.

The dinghy was used to provide lessons to a patient, Cathy Post. More dinghies and sailor clients followed leading to the incorporation of Sailability Gold Coast in March 2000; the first Sailability club in Queensland.   The Southport Yacht Club and SailabilityGC continue to work closely together.

Wyn Treasure did not stand idle.  He became the first president of Sailability Qld Inc. (SQ) which was incorporated in April 2000.  SQ is the coordinating body for Sailability clubs in Queensland.

Sailability Sunshine Coast followed (incorporated in June 2000), then Sailability Bayside (incorporated in March 2003).

There are now 15 separately incorporated clubs affiliated with SQ.

You can  follow Sailability Gold Coast on Facebook and Instagram

Sponsorships, grants, donations and governance issues: contact our President, Mike McGehan ( or 0475 898 829.

Want to become one of our volunteers? If you are interested in volunteering, please email