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post #5 of Old 06-30-2013
Michael K
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Re: Handicapped Access to Salon?

I am a sailor with a physical handicap (hemiparesis) due to an accident I had at age 3. I didn't start to learn about sailing until I was 12, nearly 40 years ago, but already knew how to overcome several obstacles AND define my limitations (which were few, fortunately). Here are a few observations and suggestions:

- Everyone is handicapped on the water. Look around at all of the contraptions we use (with or without mechanical advantage) and I hope you'll see what I mean. Somewhere, somehow, there is usually a solution that will work for you. Get those creative juices flowing.

- One of the best things your husband can do is lots of physical therapy. This is not only to minimize the atrophy but also to strengthen other body parts (e.g. arms and hands) to facilitate mobility when aboard. This is a sensitive topic, I know. Most people think that someone who endured 10 years of intensive PT as a kid would easily embrace a PT regimen as an adult; not so - I still hate doing it but I know the payoff makes it worthwhile.

- Think about a different sailboat. Many catamarans have only one step between the cockpit and salon. The stability of such designs provide a level platform that is so much easier to get around on. Shorter overall length in a catamaran can still provide as much accomodation as you expect now, also making many of the parts smaller and incrementally easier to handle. Yes, I understand cost is a factor but this is just a thought right now.

- Once you get enough posts feel free to PM me. If CRAB, noted above, isn't local to you there may be another handicap sailing program near you; just do some research. There are many handicap sailors in this world (and at least one famous sailing author), so do not get discouraged.

- To anyone reading this, I have always felt better using the term handicap in place of disability.
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