Sailing allows participants to enjoy the freedom of movement and independence – whether it’s a lazy afternoon on an inland lake, mastering the wind in recreational races, or challenging yourself with elite-level competition, sailing offers something for everyone.
Individuals of all abilities can enjoy the sport of sailing as boats can be adapted for seating, controls and rigging. The first step is getting yourself to a sailing center that has an adaptive program and joining the fun. There is no limit to finding out how far you can go. Check out DSUSA chapters offering sailing here and type “sail” in search box below map.
Sue Beatty is the Executive Director of Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) in Annapolis, Md., a DSUSA Chapter. “We recommend starting with a short classroom session, especially for those who are completely new to sailing,” she said. “We cover a basic set of terms for parts of the boat such as main, jib, rudder, keel, etc. We also cover the very basic principles of sailing – how the sail is like a wing, how sails are “trimmed” or adjusted depending on the wind and direction of sail, and how the keel works to keep the boat upright. Finally we discuss (and stress) safety and the rules of the road.
“After covering the basics we get people out on a boat with an experienced skipper. Seeing, touching and feeling are the best ways to make those abstract basic concepts clear. Our skippers let people take the helm and handle the sails, but are always right there to step in and keep things safe. From there it’s just more sailing and chances to learn and try things,” Beatty said.