Kirk Watson is an accomplished sailor. His first sail down the Australian coast was at the tender age of 7 in a 32 foot motor sailor... and he's been on the water every spare moment since. Kirk sharpened his sailing skills through years of successful racing on Pittwater.
So his progression to skippering a 54 footer in the 2013 Sydney to Hobart yacht race might seem par for the course... except for one small detail.
Kirk is legally blind.
Watson started losing his sight in his 20s through retinitis pigmentosa a condition affecting around 1 in 3000 Australians. And now at 40 he cannot see at all. Many people allow a disability like blindness to define them. Not Kirk.Read more
Northern Campaign Skipper Mark says working with SWD has opened his eyes to what can be achieved. He is amazed at how an activity like sailing can benefit people so greatly, particularly those living…Read More
Brett was just 44 when he lost his right arm and leg in a head-on collision with a ute. The ute was overtaking and didn't see Brett coming the other way. A few short months later, he was out racing with…Read More
I have an inherited disability called CMT (Charcot Marie Toothe Syndrome) which is a neuro-muscular condition affecting mainly the legs and hands to varying degrees. I have weaknesses in my calves and…Read More
Grace Kennedy was born with Spina Bifida and has used a wheelchair for mobility all her life. In 2013, at the tender age of 19, she crewed in one of the world's toughest ocean races - the Rolex Sydney…Read More
David credits SWD with giving him a better appreciation of what people can achieve. Being an SWD member has shown him first-hand that the human spirit is more powerful than the body.Read More
I had never been on a yacht before but I realised I could put sails up, pull on ropes, and make things do things. As it turned out sailing opened up a window... which opened a door... which opened a bigger…Read More
Kristi Foster broke her back when she was just 21. Then just 16 weeks after surgery to repair her spine, she was in a car accident and broke her back and neck again.Read More
Kirk Watson is an accomplished sailor. His first sail down the Australian coast was at the tender age of 7 in a 32 foot motor sailor... and he's been on the water every spare moment since. Kirk sharpened…Read More
After participating in the Try Sail day, Chelsea came home and could not stop talking about it. It was such a wonderful time, and she felt secure and stable on the bigger boat. Every time she sees a boat…Read More
Mark enjoys his association with SWD for many reasons. In his words, the crew "don't get inflated syndrome by big-noting their achievements - despite their significance." Put simply, "SWD is a really…Read More