What is adaptive sailing?
Adaptive sailing is a thrilling and empowering sport that allows individuals of all abilities to experience the freedom of movement and independence on the water. Whether it's a leisurely afternoon on an inland lake or challenging yourself in competitive races, sailing has something to offer everyone.
How do I get started?
Getting started in adaptive sailing is easy. The first step is finding a sailing center with an adaptive program and joining in the fun. Many sailing centers offer a brief classroom session to introduce new sailors to the basic terminology and principles of the sport, as well as cover safety and rules. From there, participants can get out on the water with an experienced skipper and have the opportunity to take the helm and handle the sails.
What kinds of aids are available?
For those with physical disabilities, assistance may be needed to transfer into and out of the boat. This can be done using mechanical lifts, transfer boarding benches, or personal assistance. At Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) in Annapolis, Maryland, Freedom 20 boats are used for adaptive sailing. These boats are designed with open and flat decks, making them easy to access, and have a heavy keel that makes them stable and nearly impossible to capsize. They also have fiberglass seats with seat belts to secure sailors and a self-tending jib for ease of use.
In addition to providing a fun and exciting activity, adaptive sailing also offers numerous physical and mental benefits. It can improve balance, coordination, and cardiovascular endurance, as well as provide a sense of accomplishment and social connection.
What resources are available?
There are many resources available to assist with finding adaptive sailing programs and obtaining adaptive sailing equipment. Disabled Sports USA, the Courageous Sailing Center, and the Sail To Prevail organization are just a few examples. Funding may also be available through grants and donations from organizations such as the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Adaptive Sports USA.
So why wait? Get out on the water and experience the freedom and joy of adaptive sailing. Whether you're a seasoned sailor or just getting started, there's a place for you on the water.