Leaving your disability onshore

Adaptive Sailing, adaptive sport

ROLLING INSPIRATION readers will have probably heard about the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST), which was featured in the first issue of 2018. JST is a well-established organisation that gives people with disabilities the opportunity to sail on the open seas for 40 days!

Read more about JST here.

Of course, not everyone has the courage to attempt sailing for over a month. For South Africans with disabilities, there is a welcome alternative. Carel Schoeman introduced sailing and kayaking adventure camps for Muriel Brand learners in 2012. By 2015, adaptive sailing was introduced to the Catamaran Club at Bronkhorstspruit dam, where the AllCat sailing competition, hosted by the Stilbaai yacht club on the Vaal dam, takes place.

Adaptive Sailing, adaptive sport

Read more about the AllCat event here.

The AllCat event now includes categories for people with disabilities. In 2017, Grant Fisher represented South Africa at the Para World Sailing Championship in Germany – a development programme run by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

Today, there are a number of events that allow people with disabilities to experience adaptive sailing. An introduction to adaptive sailing will be held during the AllCat event at the Vaal Dam from October 13 to 14, while a sailing clinic for youngsters will be hosted during the Youth Nationals from December 15 to 22 at the Vaal Dam.

Adaptive Sailing, adaptive sport

Free camping is provided to the athletes and their families at Stilbaai during these events. Schoeman notes: “Equipment for adaptive sailing is very expensive, as with most sports. We’ve managed to do modifications to an existing Halcat class boat to accommodate people with disabilities. It is a fairly cost-effective way to get sailors on the water.

“We’ve also been testing and sailing these boats safely for the last two seasons. We’re now at the point where we can accommodate more sailors and make more athletes aware of adaptive sailing.”

The South African Sailing organisation now aims to start a training programme with the goal of competing in the 2024 Paralympic Games. However, the sailing offered at the Catamaran Club is also designed for participants simply to have fun! For more information on adaptive sailing and upcoming events, email Carel Schoeman at henque@lantic.net.

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