The thrill of sailing is something that is not just limited to those who are able-bodied, as various organisations are in place to ensure that everyone enjoys their time on the water. For people with a vast range of disabilities, sailing enables them to try something a little bit different and to experience the thrills of the sea alongside their carers.
Sailing training is carried out in great detail, with trainers that are fully aware of how to assist those less able than themselves.
They will all have completed first aid courses and will ensure that safety, alongside enjoyment, is the main focus when on the water.
Once in a boat, most disabled sailors are able to compete on almost equal terms with those who are able bodied, and that is a major factor in influencing people to get involved.
Sailing offers the opportunity to feel self reliant, as well as the feeling of exhilaration that can be felt when something goes well.
The International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) deals with all aspects of sailing involving those with disabilities across the globe.
With authorisation from the International Sailing Federation, they work hard to promote sailing for people of all ages and with all types of disability.
Providing people with an opportunity to excel when they may otherwise struggle to find opportunities to do so is extremely important, which is why sailing courses can be so influential.
Sailing with a disability does not have to be competitive – it can be as slow and relaxed as any sailor wishes it to be.
Opportunities are available to try it out on inland waters or the sea, while having trained teachers even means an ability to swim is not necessarily required.
Regardless of a person’s disability, sailing courses offer the chance for those with limited movement, or a lack of sight or hearing, to experience the thrill of being on the water.
It can be a truly life-changing experience and it is why continued investment is made into both disability courses and facilities across the globe.
RYA Sailability courses introduce 40,000 disabled people to sailing each year, with many of them continuing to sail on a regular basis afterwards.
Alternatively, plenty of training and dedication to sailing could see people able to challenege for places in the various Great Britain Paralympic teams.
Sailing features regularly at the Paralympic Games, and has done since 2000, as well as in a whole host of other global sporting programmes.
British pair Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell claimed bronze at London 2012, to go alongside gold medals at the world Championships for four consecutive years between 2009 and 2012.
Meanwhile, Helena Lucas won gold in the 2.4mR category, becoming the first Brit to win a Paralympic sailing medal in the process.
All races in the Paralympics are done in keel boats which offer enhanced stability when on the water, improving the safety for those on board.
With the right boating courses, it’s possible for anyone to follow on from these achievements, as support is available from many sailing clubs up and down the country.
The growing popularity of sailing highlights its appeal to a great deal of people, and it’s a sport that people can take part in, regardless of disability or skill.
The feeling of euphoria that being on the water brings is very difficult to replicate, but it is certainly something to be tried at least once.