Port Stephens Home and Disability Care clients join Making Waves Foundation on the water on day one of 2021 Sail Port Stephens

Sharon Grover never thought she would see her water-loving husband Kerry on a boat again following an accident in 2018 that left him paralysed from the waist down.

But on Monday she watched as her husband of 47 years wheeled himself onto the Making Waves Foundation's yacht that joined the first Sail Port Stephens race - the Commodores Cup - out on the Bay.

"It's something I never dreamed he would be able to do," Mrs Grover, from Lemon Tree Passage, said.

Mr Grover was one of six Port Stephens Home and Disability Care clients that was invited by Making Waves - an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of the disabled and disadvantaged through sailing - to enjoy the water and join the Sail Port Stephens racing on Monday.

It is the first time Making Waves, which runs children's programs along the east coast, has offered a sailing experience to adults.

The volunteer crew are avid sailors but also trained to help those with additional needs when on the yacht.

Jon Beninca from Port Stephens Home and Disability Care said "we jumped at this opportunity" when Making Waves contacted them with the offer to take some of its clients out on the water for the day.

"For older residents, there are little opportunities for them to get out of the home and enjoy experiences like sailing," he said.

Sailing out of d'Albora Marina, Nelson Bay on Monday.

Sailing out of d'Albora Marina, Nelson Bay on Monday.

Mr Beninca and Mrs Grover joined the six clients on Monday, one of hundreds that was out on the bay for the start of the sailing regatta.

Among the group of six home care clients was Matthew Baldwin, who has had 45 brain operations.

"To be able to do this is awesome," Mr Baldwin told the Examiner on Monday. "It's not something I would be been able to do otherwise."

On Tuesday, a group of students from Newcastle High School's special development unit joined the Making Waves crew out on the water, and day two of the Commodores Cup.

The crew included two students who enjoyed a Making Waves Foundation program sail two years ago and two first time sailors.

The group was due to hit the water again on Wednesday and were aiming for linehonours in the final day of the Commodores Cup.

On Thursday, the Making Waves Foundation will host a fundraising lunch atBroughton's at the Bay. Tickets are still available fromhttp://bit.ly/laydayplayday.


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