Fund raising for a wheelyboat (5 replies)
At Wealden Sailability we have expanded our fleet since we started in 2008. We now have 23 boats, ranging from 303s to a couple of 2.4's. We also launch a Rib and 2 further suppot boats. All of this requires high volunteer numbers. We have been approached by a potential sponsor asking if we have any major equipment needs. We are asking ourselves if we should consider buying a wheelyboat so that we can load wheelchair useres straight on. Clearly there are obvious advantages over having to hoist sailors out of thier chairs and on to a dinghy. However there are also some clear disadvantages. It begins to move us away from a "charity providing opportunities to sail" and more towards taking people out on the water. There is the extra efford of hauling another boat out of the water, storing the engine and also the asociated running and insurance costs.
My question is have other centres considered this option and have they faced similar arguments about how to proceed?
Many thanks for the comments. We are sitting down today to try and decide what to do. We will have some interesting logistics problems to overcome if we do decide to buy a wheelyboat. Kind regards, David
David and others,
We have faced exactly the same issues at the Woolverstone Project. We have two centres - one on the River Orwell (near Ipswich) and one at a reservoir - Alton Water - a couple of miles away. We use the Woolverstone base during the summer season (May 1st - September 30th) and Alton Water all year round. At Woolverstone we had a Hawk 20 and Drascombe Longboat and changes in the nature of our clientele meant that we considered a Wheelyboat - our decision was to go for one.
We managed to raise the funds in just over a year, but as you will have realised, they are not cheap! You are right - the Wheelyboat Trust which sells the Wheelyboats is a charity themselves and they will help with fund-raising. In our case they were a significant support - for both fund-raising and advice. They were incredibly helpful when we were considering our decision and brought two different boats for us to try. We eventually bought a Coulam V20 with a 90HP outboard. It arrived in late July and we have been using it for the latter part of the season. We have found it excellent - sailors and volunteers have all really enjoyed it. The ease of loading (we load from a marina pontoon) and stability of the rise have made it a valuable addition to our fleet. We have decided to sell our Drascombe Longboat and the Wheelyboat will replace this. That way we have a good sailing boat in the Hawk and a good 'people carrier' in the Wheelyboat giving us more flexibility about how we manage our groups on the river.
One of the positives for us as well is the fact that the console is wheelchair accesisble allowing us the opportunity to train some of our sailors on powerboat skills as well.
There is a short video on our Wheelyboat made for us by a volunteer on YouTube:
Happy to provide any further information if that would be a help.
A compromise (possibly no good for you in either role) would be something that can double up as safety etc cover. We used to have 2 Pioner Multis with front ramps, that could take a wheelchair, and we also used for safety cover when we were sailing more in the River Thames. In a safety role you probably need a 25hp, but for pottering an 8hp engine should be enough. We sold them for the reasons Graham gave- we wanted to focus on being a sailing club. Inevitably the decision had its opponents, and we might reconsider. My guess is that the current trustees would not object to the principle of a powered boat but would want to be satisfied on the economics- engine servicing, parts and fuel, storage - plus volunteer enthusiasm to make a success of it.
That is a difficult question, I think the issue may be how much you can afford to diversify. You've clearly made a success in your core product.
At first sight getting those that can't sail on the water is a great idea but it may require a different approach to marketing.
We are a charity that operates powered boats on the Basingstoke Canal, most of our business actually comes from care homes. They hire the whole boat and we crew it. We have recently ventured into book a seat cruises targeting individuals who can't afford the whole boat. These have been successful.
All our efforts are devoted to expanding the market we have. I did consider row boats or canoes with winches on the canal side to load customers but that is so far away from our current expertise it is probably not on.
I really fancy a wheelyboat but I can't convince my fellow committee members.
I notice that they offer to help charities with fundraising to buy the boat. It is in FAQ on their website.
Hope that helps a bit.
The above was written and posted in haste..apologies for typos etc
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