Sailing association seeking to help disabled children have an adventure of a lifetime at sea

DISABLED children across Gosport are being offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take to the water by a sailing association.

By Amy Dobbin
Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 4:17 pm
A member of the Disabled Sailors Association is helped onto one of the group's specially adapted boats.
A member of the Disabled Sailors Association is helped onto one of the group's specially adapted boats.

The Disabled Sailors Association (DSA) is hunting for youngsters who are keen for an adventure at sea but who may have been put off by their disability.

The association supports people with hidden disabilities, visual impairments, people on the autistic spectrum, amputees, and many other complex needs.

Mike Wood, the organisation's chairman, said the activities could have a life-changing impact on young people and was keen to get more people involved.

One of the Disabled Sailors Association's specially adapted vessels pictured at sea.

Speaking to The News, he added: 'You can see how this changes their lives, ambitions and dreams... You can see them change, you can see the pride and enjoyment in them.'

The search comes as Paralympic fever continues to sweep the nation, with Team GB currently sat in second place with a whopping 96 medals – 34 of them being gold.

The, boom has been felt across the Portsmouth, with the city's own Paralympic hero Laura Steadman, bagging her first ever gold medal in the women's individual PTS5 triathlon.

Laura, a graduate of the University of Portsmouth and former athlete with Portsmouth Northsea and Portsmouth Athletics, dominated the field, finishing with a time of 1:04:46, which was 41 seconds ahead of Rio 2016 champion Grace Norman who took the silver.

Pictured is: Chairman of the Disabled Sailors Association Mike Wood outside the group's shop in Cranleigh Road, Fareham, in 2012 following a break-in. Picture: Sarah Standing (123158-4340)

Mike said the Paralympics and Team GB's performance was continuing to inspire more disabled people into sport - and that he was keen to capitalise on this new wave of enthusiasm.

Asked how much the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics meant to the disabled community, he added: 'It means a lot. It's been televised so much this year, it really has...the ambition has been turned.'

The DSA will be appearing at the Saturday show at Gosport Festival from 10am-4pm.

The operation provides fully accessible boats and facilities, alongside a team of experienced, trained, and knowledgeable staff and crew.

The yachts have run to nearly full capacity for over 25 years, with over 40,000 people having sailed on the specially equipped boats. Participants will have the opportunity to experience a ride around the harbour, as well as the chance to control the yacht, with all facilities fully accessible.

The DSA are determined to make it their mission to enable disabled sailors to have the best possible sailing experience.

To find out more, email [email protected] or contact Mike at 07541 754196.

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