Otley Sailing Club

Sailfree History

During 2016 Sailfree expanded from three to four days a week providing Sailing for All to more than 2,500 disabled people.

Otley Sailing Club first began providing sailing opportunities for disabled people and people with complex learning difficulties under the “Sailing for All” banner in 1989 thanks to the vision and hard work of Norman Stephens and the then commodore, David Grimshaw, followed not long afterwards by Derek Chapman.  In those days, the boats were standard Wayfarers, not the purpose built ‘Access’ Boats used today.


In 1993, “Sailfree” was born, but it was not until 1995 that the National Governing Body of our sport, the Royal Yachting Association, became involved and RYA Sailability (to which Sailfree is affiliated) became a reality.

We were proud to be recognized as a Sailability Centre of Excellence in 2008. 

In 2013 club received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service from the Lord Lieutenant of the County, Dr Ingrid Roscoe.

This was followed by the Duke of York Award for voluntary service to the community.

This award is a very well deserved accolade for our tireless volunteers who regularly give up their time and expertise for the benefit of others and also for our many sponsors whose generosity over the years has enabled us to expand our Sailfree fleet to 9 Purpose Built Access Boats, 3 Comet Trios and a Pioneer Drop Front Safety Boat and the financial wherewithal to provide over 2000 sailing experiences to our clients every year. 

Standing still is not in our nature and the committee and volunteers are committed to the long term future of Sailfree and have plans for improvements in access as well as shore side areas over the next few years. We hope to rely on the continued support from our volunteers and sponsors for this valuable work.



BESA (Formerly HVCA)

Baily Thomas Charitable Fund

 Groups currently using our services:


John Jamieson School, Leeds

John Jamieson School, Brigshaw 

High Park School, Bradford 

Green Meadows School, Guiseley

Hft Bradford


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