I recently had the opportunity to try my hand at amputee sailing. However, I am no newby to the ocean, having been an active ocean kayaker for the past eight years or so. When someone stole my kayak last year, I took it as a sign that kayaking was over for me, mostly due to a very painful shoulder injury that never healed properly.
So I got myself all registered and official online and booked my first two sails. The pictures here are from June 2, 2016. As I write this, I am scheduled again for tomorrow after work again at 4 o’clock. That way instead of dealing with rush hour traffic, I’m having my own RUSH hour on English Bay. What fantastic scenery!
When I arrive in my wet suit all ready to go, I am directed to a ramp next to a sailboat on dry land. All I had to do was make my way up the ramp on my crutches and climb into the boat. It was actually that easyl The Disabled Sailing Association of BC guys did the rest. They launched me into the water and my instructor Rob showed me how to work the rudder, while he handled most of the lines himself. And off we went into the wild blue yonder. Literally.
We hovered around the pier for a while until I got a good feel for the rudder and we got some good wind. What an exhilarating feeling to catch a good strong wind with your sail and to feel nature pushing me forward on the water, the same way man has done for centuries. I have had a little bit of experience sailing on a larger boat, and it all seemed to come back to me fairly quickly. Of course, it’s pretty easy when you’re instructor is sitting behind you with another rudder control.
I was able to sail for just over an hour on a wonderful sunny day that would have been otherwise spent sitting in traffic on Highway 99. I can’t say that any of this was difficult at all, unlike kayaking where I had to load and unload, launch and reload my boat and secure it, etc. I would highly recommend sailing for amputees and any other type of disability. Basically all you have to do is show up.
I have included a few pictures below of my sailing day. To view some videos of my experience, please visit my Amputee Sailing page, where you will also find some amputee sailing resources for Canadian amputees.
Happy Sailing and have a good summer!
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