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CANSail Checklists

Good news for Learn to Sail programs!  The Sail Canada CANSail checklists have been adapted to accommodate the needs of sailors with disabilities.  They will be integrated into the Sail Canada Checklick program that sailing schools use to register their students and follow their progress online.

About Accessible Sailing

For persons with a disability, the sense of freedom and independence associated with sailing is unrivalled. Disabled sailing programs provide empowerment, motivation and quality of life for people with physical disabilities. Many of these people have very limited sports and recreational activities available to them, and sailing provides an accessible, affordable and exhilarating recreational option in both leisure and competition.

The freedom and independence associated with sailing has been unattainable for children and adults with disabilities – until recently.

Disabled sailing provides recreational access to people normally excluded from such sports due to significant physical disabilities. Sailing allows people with physical disabilities to develop their self-confidence, self-sufficiency and social connections through participation in an exceptionally rewarding outdoor pursuit.

Sailing is one activity where, because of adaptive technology, even people with severe physical limitations can compete equally with able-bodied persons. Sailing enables those with disabilities to enrich their lives and build confidence in a way no other similar activity can.

The Martin 16

The Martin 16 is a boat that was designed specifically for people with disabilities. Thanks to innovative technology it can be sailed independently by people with any level of physical disability. It is widely used across Canada as a program boat and is also sailed competitively.

The Access Dinghy

The Access Dinghy was also designed for sailors with disabilities. There are three models: the 2.4, 303 and the Liberty. These boats can also be equipped with special controls allowing sailors with severe disabilities to sail independently.

The 2.4mR

The 2.4mR is a one person Scandinavian designed boat that was not designed for sailors with disabilities but just happens to be particularly well-suited due to the fact that the sailor stays seated in one place and all controls for steering, trimming, etc. are within hands reach. Sailors with and without disabilities compete against each other on a level playing field. The 2.4mR is used for the one-person event in the Paralympics.

The Sonar

The Sonar is a 23-ft keelboat that was also not specifically designed for sailors with disabilities but is a sailboat for which it is easy to make adaptations for seating and steering. It is the boat used for the 3-person event in the Paralympics.

The Skud 18

The Skud 18 is an Australian boat that was specifically designed to be the boat used for the 2-person event at the Paralympics. The helmsperson sits in a fixed seat on the centreline using a manual joystick, push/pull rods, or a servo assist joystick with full control of all functions. The forward crew can either be on the centreline, transferring manually, even riding trapeze. As its name denotes, the SKUD18 is a SKiff of Universal Design and can be sailed by people with all levels of physical ability.

The Freedom Independence

The Freedom Independence is a 20-ft keelboat designed for sailors with disabilities. It has a low freeboard to facilitate getting aboard. The cockpit is equipped with two pivoting seats for helmsman and crew. It is not used for racing but is popular in accessible recreational sailing programs.

Get Involved

Freedom, independence, empowerment and fun are all terms we commonly hear from our members. Sailing is a sport for some and recreation for others but all agree that there's nothing like the feeling of being out on the water with our wheelchairs or walking aids back at the dock and knowing that we are safe and in control. My thanks to the dedicated staff and volunteers that make all of this possible.

Rick Watters, Sailor

Of all the volunteer jobs I have (and I have several), the one at QQDSP in Toronto is one of the more gratifying. It is great to go out with people for whom this time on the water is the highlight of their week. You really feel you are contributing something to their well being. And yes I love sailing. It is one of these win-win situations life doesn't offer enough of.

Marcel Deurvorst, Volunteer

I had no idea that sailing was still a possibility for me after my accident and 10 years later there is no turning back. I have made new friends and will keep on sailing for a long time. I think we should copyright the phrase "I leave my wheelchair at the dock and feel the freedom of being on the water" or anything similar, it has become a motto for all of us in the disabled sailing community.

Han Tacoma, Sailor

Contact Details

Able Sail Network
Click here to contact ASN.

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