A new journey begins in Torbay

We are delighted to announce the exciting news of our 8th boat in the fleet – Wetwheels Torbay. (Image c/o Southampton International Boat Show/Emily Whiting.)

Having already given more than 50,000 disabled people the exhilarating opportunity to spend time on the water onboard specially built, fully accessible powerboats, we are expanding to meet an increasing need and demand.

This comes only a few weeks before Wetwheels Edinburgh arrives in Port Edgar, as we enable more disabled people to access and experience the magic of the open water, barrier-free.  

The new boat has been kindly supported by The Ashton family. Here is James’s story in his own words:

“I grew up with the sea in my blood; I was on it, in it and under it. From a very young age I was drawn to the sea and luckily home, on the River Teign Estuary in Devon, was within a good cast of a fishing line and is where I now live today. 

Following a successful career and early retirement I thought boating and the sea were within reach of unlimited bliss. Sadly, in the same month I retired I was diagnosed with MND.

Today I need 24-7 care from 2 carers and am permanently attached to a ventilator to keep me breathing. I can't move any muscles and only communicate with an eye gaze computer which has enabled me to write this.

Thundercat is my own accessible boat and in May 2021 a whole new chapter of boating opened up and it has exceeded all expectations. This July I even hosted a Hawaiian party on Thundercat with a guitarist to entertain. I hope the pictures speak for themselves. 

My desire was to leave a legacy so others, not ordinarily able to access the sea by boat through illness or disability could enjoy the immense pleasure it brings. With the support of my wife, Joanna and our two teenage boys, Sam and Monty I decided to donate funds to enable a new build for Wetwheels from Cheetah Catamaran. With scrutiny and guidance from my former business colleague of twenty years and friend, Russell Smart, we achieved this goal.”

Our Founder and Trustee Geoff Holt MBE DL hosted the launch event, explaining just what this will mean for the local community and wider region, and the charity’s future plans. 

Geoff also took the opportunity to express our deep thanks and appreciation for the support we have received to make this dream a reality. Wetwheels Torbay will be on the water and welcoming participants from spring 2024. If you would like to hear more or support the boat when she arrives please email us to register your interest.