DISABLED sailors in Cowes are celebrating the phenomenal success of Rose Ayling-Ellis ­— after the 27-year-old danced her way to victory in last night's (Saturday) Strictly Come Dancing final.

The sailors, many of whom are amputees, paraplegics or­ — like Rose ­— have sensory impairments, all train to race competitively.

They believe Rose has lit the way for more disabled people to 'live their dream’.

“We feel able-bodied people are starting to realise that being physically disabled doesn’t mean you can’t achieve, even when up against fierce competition," said Matt Grier, project director at the Andy Cassell Foundation in Cowes.

“One of our regular sailors has been blind from birth and has very limited hearing.

"It’s heart warming being in a boat with him as he takes the helm with confidence.”

The charity instructs sailors with a range of disabilities to race Sonars ­— 23ft fast keel boats open to the elements.

“Just like Strictly, we make very few allowances and operate a level playing field approach," said Matt.

"Everyone is equal and simply has to get on with it."

The foundation was started by Andy Cassell; a top-class sailor who was born without legs, but for years competed with able-bodied sailors.

He entered his first Paralympics in Atlanta in 1996 and brought home a gold.

That win inspired him to find ways to help others with disabilities.

To find out more about the foundation, visit www.acfsailing.org