David Pescud - SWD

David Pescud - SWD

Like many Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race competitors, David Pescud started sailing at a very young age when he stole a sheet from his mother’s linen cupboard to use as the sail for his wooden rowboat.

He moved into VJs, Skates, Sharpies and Flying Dutchmans before purchasing his first trailer sailor, a boat he remembers as “the slowest boat in the world”.

David is dyslexic and is the founding member of the now highly successful Sailors with disABILITIES programme Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD) which aims to give people with disabilities the opportunity to access and enjoy the sport of sailing.

When the program started in 1994, David and his team accommodated around 100 disabled sailors per year, many who have become skilled sailors and have dispersed amongst the main fleet sailing out of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Each year the boat called Sailors with disABILITIES, a Lyons 54 designed to accommodate the varying crew disabilities, takes out 1,000 or so disabled school students between Sydney and Airlie Beach on their return leg from Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

David’s most remarkable protégé is Vinny Lauers, who became a paraplegic as a result of a road cycling accident in 1990. He was one of David’s first students and on the 18 August 2000, Vinny became the first disabled person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.

In 2003 David skippered KAZ, as the boat was know as then, with a fully disabled crew and smashed the record for circumnavigation of Australia. David was the subject of a biography "Life without Limits" by Helen O'Neill in the same year.

David Pescud lives in Sydney and is married with two daughters.