Gosport sailing group appeals for help with new boat

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A GROUP which helps disadvantaged children learn to sail is appealing to the community to help it expand.

Gosport Youth Afloat plans to buy a second sailing boat, the Jupiter, but needs the use of two sites to refurbish and berth it.

As previously reported in The News, the group refurbished its 23ft yacht, Solaris, in January, before teaching more than 17 children to sail this summer.

James Stallard, a trustee of the group, said it needed to begin work on the Jupiter before the start of next year.

He said: ‘We can’t take her on until we have somewhere to put her.

‘It’s all dependent on whether we can get a land site, get her on her cradle and work on her, and then we need a berth for her.

‘If we can’t do that, everything’s shot.’

The group currently berths its existing boat for free at Haslar Marina, after refurbishing it at Hornet Sailing Club.

If the group, which teaches seven to 18 year olds, can find a new site to work on the boat it will be able to take up to 30 children out on the water next year.

The children are referred to the sailors by PCSO Jane Dawson, from Gosport police, giving them a chance to be productive and improve their behaviour.

Mr Stallard hopes that more people will come forward from the community to help skipper and teach the youngsters.

He said: ‘We’ve got three actual certificated skippers and we’ve got a few of us who supervise on board.

‘We would need ultimately more skippers because otherwise it would be such a workload on the ones we have.’

Along with the storage and more skippers, the group, which was funded this year by local businesses and received donations from the Rotary Club of Gosport, also needs donations.

Mr Stallard hopes that groups in the local community will come forward to help them refit the Jupiter, making the boat ready for the coming summer season.

‘It doesn’t have to be funding as in money, it can be funding as in kind,’ he said.

‘What we need for Jupiter, to get her fully up and running, would be materials.’

And the new boat would give youngsters already involved with the scheme an opportunity to learn more.

‘It gives the youngsters more training on different types,’ said Mr Stallard.