Disabled Sailors Frequently asked questions
Do I need to bring a carer with me?
This depends on the nature of your disability. Many sailors do bring carers; others come alone. We are able to assist with mobility, but cannot provide personal care; if you need this please bring your own carer with you.
Do I have to be a member before I can come?
No, you can come and have a free taster session before you join. If you are on holiday in the area you can come as a day member, the cost for day membership is £5.00.
Do I need any experience to sail with you?
No. We welcome complete beginners and will try to get you sailing single handed within a few sessions (if you want to). We have several instructors who are trained and qualified by the RYA who will teach in groups or one to one. You can obtain RYA qualifications too.
Is it dangerous?
All water sports have some inherent dangers. However, we operate to a very high standard of risk management and take every precaution to ensure that your experience will be exciting and fun but above all, safe.
What sort of boats do you have?
We have specially adapted Hansa sailing dinghies, which are single or double seated, and two 20ft sailing keel-boats which can carry up to four sailors with two volunteer crew.
Is it just for sailors?
No, we also operate powerboats and some are capable of taking wheelchairs. You can be a passenger and just enjoy the ride or you can train to drive one.
What about racing?
We have fun sailing, training sessions and racing events for our fleet of Hansa sailing dinghies. You can race single-handed or with someone else. Our two 20ft keelboats, take part in racing in Start Bay with the Royal Dart Yacht Club on a Wednesday evening. Last year we won our class. We also enter the racing events of Dartmouth Regatta.
Do the boats tip over?
All sailing boats will heel in certain wind conditions. This is quite normal. However, all of our boats are especially designed or adapted to cater for people with disabilities. That means making them as stable and easy to operate as possible.
Our Hansa boats, for example, have long heavy keels and cannot be tipped over. The worst might be some water coming over the side.
I can’t swim? What if I fall out?
Being a non-swimmer is no problem. You will wear a self-inflating life jacket and in the unlikely event of falling in the water will be quite safe. A specially designed rescue boat is always near by. We always advise bringing a spare set of clothes just in case.
Who goes to Dart Sailability?
People with a sense of adventure and fun. Ages range from children to seniors.
Will I get wet?
While it is unlikely that you will get very wet we ask that you bring a waterproof, a towel and a change of clothes and shoes just in case. Please bring your own waterproofs in case of bad weather.
Do I need a life-jacket?
We will provide you with a life jacket or buoyancy aid which you must wear on the boats and the pontoon.
What should I wear?
Depending on the weather you should bring warm clothing. Several layers are better than thick clothes. Wear soft soled shoes – deck shoes or trainers are ideal. Do not wear anything that you would not want to get splashed or soiled, jeans are not recommended.
What else should I bring?
If it is expected to be very hot, bring sun cream and a hat. You might want to bring a bottle of water, and any medication you might require. Bring some cash for a tea or coffee.
What about bad weather?
We watch the weather forecast carefully on sailing days, and cancel sailing if it is expected to be very wet or windy. Check the website or Facebook before leaving home if in any doubt – The "Todays Sailing” page is updated a day or two before the event, but may be changed at any time with weather updates and advice.
Bring waterproofs and a change of shoes in case we are caught in a shower.
How much does it cost to join?
Membership is £35.00 for the whole year and nothing else.