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Information for disabled sailors

​​At Dart Sailability we welcome all people with disabilities to come and enjoy sailing and boating on The River Dart. We have specially adapted boats that enable anyone to take part in sailing and motorboating. Our biggest motorboat, the “Farries Flyer” can accommodate up to 10 sailors including 4 in wheelchairs, so is ideal for groups.

Disabled sailor enjoying the river dart wit dart sailability

We also have a Nab Dory motor boat, sailing keel boats with adapted seats and 6 Hansa sailing dinghies which you can be transferred into from a wheelchair. We have motorboats in which we teach those with no experience to drive too. 


We operate from early May through to early October on week days and Saturdays. Days and times vary depending on tides. See our Programme on the web site for details.


If you are interested in a free taster session please contact us via the Get in Touch tab above. 


Dart Sailability is a Royal Yachting Association approved training centre and is a Centre of Excellence in the Southwest of England. We maintain a high standard of safety and are inspected annually.

RYA Sailability Logo

Who can sail with us?

We try to cater for anyone with a disability. We have specialist equipment that enables people with physical and learning disabilities to enjoy sailing or boating. We have no restriction on age or disability. Do get in touch. We will be happy to discuss special needs. 

What you need to bring? 

· Warm clothing and a waterproof top (It’s always cooler on the            water). 

· Water, a hat and sunscreen. 

· Sensible footwear (old trainers are fine) 


We can help you put on life jackets and get into boats, but we are unable to provide personal care so please bring an enabler with you if you need one. If you are interested in a free taster session please contact the Membership Secretary below.

For an individual member with a disability you pay just £35 for the year. There are no other costs and you can come as often as you wish. Bargain!

Disabed sailor enjoying sailing sornar of the dart with dart sailability

Meet some of our sailors


Disabled sailor Robert

I joined Dart Sailability, in 2001. I immediately loved the feeling of freedom as I sailed away, leaving my wheelchair behind. Our dinghies are designed for less able-bodied people. We sit with an instructor or friend at the stern of the boat with all the necessary controls to hand, but the boats can also be sailed single handedly. I’m no longer a spectator, watching others having fun. I learnt the skills to be a competent, safe sailor and a competitor against myself and others. Sailing is exhilarating as you must cope with all types of weather and you are continually exercising by looking up and down at the sails, pulling the right rope at the right time and twisting and turning to keep a sharp lookout.

I also love being so close to nature. The sea birds sit on the buoys until you are quite close, and seals rise quietly to breathe and watch, without fear. Each sailing day is an adventure.


Disabled sailor Anne

I sail a dinghy that has a joystick instead of a tiller. This gives me control over my sailing experience. I prefer a calm and unhurried time on the river, and very much enjoy the quiet. In fact I love it when it’s not too windy.

An experience on the water is available for anyone who might have believed they were excluded, because Sailability will match your ability to getting out on the river. I think a fellow sailor puts it very well: “When I’m out sailing, I don’t feel disabled.”


Disabled sailor Steve

I was an experienced seaman, having served in the Royal Navy. A disability left me believing I could never enjoy the water again. However, I knew about Sailability, and decided to join. I love it.


Sailors enjoy getting out of their chair, their prison. When a person is in a wheelchair they are always looking up, so they are rarely eye-to-eye with someone else. But the nature of sailing changes that and makes engagement with other people more comfortable. It’s also a joy to see the wildlife - fish come to the surface, and seals sit and watch.


Disabled sailor Don

When I’m sailing the dinghy I love the sense of peace, the beauty of the river and its surroundings. I hadn’t sailed at all before retirement, but I soon developed confidence. Understandably, lockdown put many pleasures on hold, and I’ve really missed sailing. I’m so looking forward to going back.


I want to express my appreciation of Dart Sailability. It’s wonderful, and so friendly. I’d encourage as many people as possible to join.


Paraplegic disabled sailor Jo Heaton

I’m paraplegic due to a spinal injury, which was caused by falling off my horse when I was thirteen.  After the accident I snow skied, water skied, played wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis. But even though I had crewed for my Dad on his Merlin Rocket, I didn’t imagine sailing again. That is, until I went to Dart Sailability. 


What can I say? It’s amazing, life changing, I love it!  Sailing the Hansa dinghy on my own gives me a great sense of freedom & adrenaline rush, especially when we are racing.


Also, I got a really warm welcome from everyone when I joined. I haven't looked back.


Dart Sailability member Abigail

Abigail is quadriplegic, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and is visually impaired. Despite all these challenges, Abigail has amazing enthusiasm for life and wishes to be part of whatever is going on. This includes taking to the water in the ARC. 

Abigail is always very excited when she sets off on a sailing experience. She loves the freedom of feeling the splashing water and wind on her face, and the bumps from wave to wave. Something that delights her even more is the sensation of moving across the wakes from other boats! 

We are certain that Abigail understands far more than she is given credit for, especially when we see the enormous pleasure she takes in sailing. 

We can't thank Dart Sailability enough for what they do. They go that extra mile to make sure everyone thoroughly enjoys their time on the river. Thank you all.

Information for Groups

If you are the leader of a group of potential members, here is what you need to know. 

Our groups usually come from schools or supported living arrangements but can also be from other organisations such as charities that support groups with special needs (underprivileged, disadvantaged families, young carers and end of life). 

We offer:

  1. Group Membership for Groups of up to 6 or 7 to 12 which allows up to 6 or 12 members of the group to participate in any of our sailing sessions alongside our members.

  2. Group Sessions which provide the Group with a dedicated trip on one of our Power or Sail Boats or a combination of boats..

  3. Training in operation of Power or Sailing Boats for Groups, possibly alongside a trip. We have training schemes designed for participants with all types of disability.


The group will need its own transport to get to our base at Dartside Quay, Kiln Road, Galmpton. TQ5 0EH. 

You will find lots of information on this website. 

Please contact Louise Harris: for further information and to discuss your needs and prices.

Our Fleet

Hansa Dinghies

We have 6 Hansa dinghies

Wheelchair users can be hoisted into the boats.

The Hansa Dinghies have a heavy keel making them virtually impossible to capsize.

The dinghies are sailed with a main sail, jib and joystick.

Farries Flyer

Powerboat 'Farries Flyer' designed and built to accommodate severely disabled sailors and with dual controls for more able sailors in wheelchairs.


The Farries Flyer can accommodate up to 12 sailors including 4 in wheelchairs.  It is based on an aluminum landing craft design but modified for wheelchair users.

Nab Dory

Our Nab Dory can accommodate

more able sailors that are able to climb into a boat.

Our safety boat

is always out with our Hansa Dinghies to make sure we are safe on the water

Safety Boat

Support RIBs

We have 3 support RIBs

Hawk 20

Our Hawk 20 can acommodate most disabilities and wheelchair users can be hoisted into the boat.

Drascombe Longboat


We have recently acquired a Drascombe Longboat and adapted her with wheel steering replacing the traditional tiller.  The new seat arrangement means that the boat can be tacked and steered without the helmsman/woman having to move across the boat.  This makes the boat ideal for those with restricted mobility to sail her.  The Longboat is very stable and capable of good speed and comfort in stronger wind conditions.

(RIB) called “Jano" 


Our nearly new Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) called “Jano" has been modified for powerboat training of  those with physical limitations.  You can now learn powerboat skills and gain qualifications with an instructor sitting alongside you.  This is a safe, manoeuvrable and fun boat to drive.

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