Able2sail Sailing season 2018
A story by able2sail
We took young people with disabilities and their families for a mixture of half day sails and full day sails on a modified yacht.
We also provide individualised programme for our Youth Forum leading to RYA qualifications. We work with an Additional Support Needs Schools to support delivery of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expedition.
What Able2sail Sailing season 2018 did
Able2sail continued collaboration with Clydemuirsheil Park to offer instruction and certification in dinghy sailing, power boating and yacht sailing. Individualised planning with the youth members identified suitable pathway to ensure progression in terms of skill and certification and their families/ carers was ongoing.
The season is May to September weekends, school holidays. The sailing instruction was enhanced by able2 sail volunteers on board the sailing yacht. All achievements were recognised either by formal RYA certification or internal able2sail certification.
We participated in regattas to enhance competition skills in the team who had been chosen to represent Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi March 2019. Their sailing season was extended over the winter season to ensure match readiness. This was made possible with the purchase of dry suits and other specialist equipment. We also collaborated with RYA specialists who trained the team in race skills. The team also attended 2 weekend seminars in Sheffield before travelling to Abu Dhabi for the 16 days that was required by Team GB.
We took out the Youth Forum for day sails and weekend sails to expand their experience of sailing and independence skills. Young people were offered a mixture of half day sails and whole day sails. The young people were accompanied by a parent, carer or older sibling. Young people and their accompanying adults as always were encouraged to take part in the sailing experience as much as possible, although for some young people it was totally experiential.
3 young people from Kilpatrick School (West Dunbartonshire) had 2 x 3 day sailing experiences as part of the Bronze/Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. The second sail was assessed by a Duke of Edinburgh assessor. Liaison is ongoing with the school, young people and parents/carers
What able2sail has learned
Partnership working, this is very important in enhancing and developing our provision. We have built up a very successful and beneficial partnership with Castle Semple Clyde Muirsheil Park. Our Youth Forum train there and our dinghy's are stored there. Our partnership with an additional support needs school has become more public and this has resulted in requests from other additional support needs schools which we try to accommodate.
Our partnership Social Work department is vital to ensure that we identify those people who would really benefit from the sail. We find that Social Work are delighted to work with able2sail.
Dealing with unexpected challenges or opportunities, we are so proud to have been Team GB at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. When we started competition sailing we did not think we would have the opportunities afforded by this selection. The Team had 2 weekends away in Sheffield meeting team members of the Special Olympic Community from around Great Britain. The experience of a flight to Abu Dhabi for 16 days, the opening ceremony, the competition highs and lows, exploring the culture of the UAE was a totally unexpected outcome. We are now looking forward to the Special Olympics UK in Liverpool followed by the World Games in Berlin. We have found that working with our partners has helped this transition/ opportunity.
Finding other sources of funding, we have found this experience can be very frustrating. The standard of application to funder's is extremely high. We attended a seminar on use of language, style, and tips organised by RYA Sailability incredibly useful and this also put the statistics into perspective which lessens the blows of rejection.
How able2sail has benefitted from the funding
Strengthen your organisations reputation, Better Breaks funding has allowed us to take part in regattas and other activities organised by RYA Sailability. This has allowed us to build on our reputation as RYA Sailability Team of the Year 2018 ( won against very stiff competition)to become Team GB Sailing in Abu Dhabi where we won a Bronze medal a 4th and a 5th place in different ranked races. As a result we are getting more requests for sails from different parts of Scotland as they have heard about our organisation and what we achieve. It has allowed partnership with Castle Semple to continue and be enhanced with extra sails and training from September through to March.
103 will have had a sail, 14 will have experienced dinghy / power boating, 6 will have had sails of 3 days with 2 overnights, 4 will have a training schedule building on the work they undertook to represent Scotland West and 3 young people will have undertaken the Duke of Edinburgh Expedition successfully.
The day sails were successfully completed with several parents and young people requesting extra sails. The Youth Forum experienced its best season yet in terms of RYA accreditation and participation in the planned individualised programme. The overnight sails were a particular success as both boats were used at the same time increasing the number of young people away at the same time. The young people had the chance on the weekend sails to continue to learn a variety of skills on board the yacht and the motor cruiser. A benefactor kindly treated all the young people and crew to an evening meal at a very popular restaurant. Able2sail was chosen as Team GB for the Special Olympics World Games. This resulted in an extended sailing season in preparation for the games. This also engendered a sense of ambition in other members of the Youth Forum to extend their sailing skills and learn how to race. The Duke of Edinburgh was successfully undertaken using our crew, school staff and an external assessor.
Billy joined the Youth Forum 4 years ago after listening to the experiences his friend was having. He worked very hard to succeed and eventually with a lot of determination and extra help passed his RYA Competent Crew and this was indeed success. He attends an additional support needs school as he has learning and intellectual difficulties and some issues with his temper, he finds learning a challenge. He is however much more suited to practical/ hands on learning and so found sailing challenging but enjoyable. He really enjoys meeting other young people from different areas and loved going away for the weekend sails. At first on the yacht he found it difficult to be without his TV and Playstation, having relied on this for his evening’s entertainment at home. The yacht is also a pretty small space so tolerance and getting on with other people is important. Sharing of the small space can be difficult but Billy copes well. Billy began to realise the importance of listening carefully to instructions and following them. He realised that his and everyone’s safety is due to good team work. He realised that this could be translated into other parts of his life. His dad and school started to notice a difference that maturity and different experiences were having on Billy. Recently Billy’s achievements have included studying at a mainstream school for part of the week. He is leaving school this year and hoping to get a job locally. He is actively looking for employment in an area where often this option is not considered. Billy has now asked to join the racing team as a result of their success and his passing competent crew
Carers/families of 117 young people will have had a relaxing time with their young people whilst sailing, or will have had quality time when their young person is undertaking a sailing programme.The parents/ carers/ families will have increased well-being as a result of their participation.
All sails were completed. Families and carers have the opportunity to either accompany their young person or choose to have the time freed up to undertake other things. We tend to find that carers choose to come out with us. Some have a sense of apprehension at first but this quickly dissipates when they become involved. Those who are returning for more sails are usually very keen to undertake driving the boat. Comments from the evaluations included, “young people enjoyed steering the boat, first time seeing a submarine” “Our family had such a great day out, so much fun” “as always we all had a great day and appreciate all the time and effort the crew put into making our young people have the best time”
Ryan has quite complex needs as well as challenging behaviour. His language is limited but his comprehension is good. He has a good sense of humour. He has a loving extended family whilst living at home with mum. He is in a local additional support needs school which meets his educational and social needs on a daily basis. There is not much to do outside of school and this can prove difficult for Ryan, especially during holidays. He attends respite in a local facility to allow his mum to recharge her batteries. Social work identified that able2sail may be an opportunity for Ryan and his mum to have a good day out. Mum was a little apprehensive at first not least because of Ryans challenging behaviour. Mum was given the option to sail with Ryan or a carer would be identified for him. Mum decided to accompany Ryan on the sail, along with a member of school staff who was kindly driving them to the marina. The day was particularly favourable in terms of weather and they sailed for several hours enjoying the scenery and company of the crew and each other. Ryan enjoyed helping look after the ropes and found driving the boat great fun. He was very proud of himself and enjoyed the praise he was receiving from the crew and other sailors. Mum was delighted with him and relaxed into the sail. She was very happy that although Ryan was on the wheel another member of crew was on the other wheel to ensure safety at all times. Mum was happy and chose not to take part in the physical aspects of sailing. She did however help organise the sandwich lunch. On leaving mum stated that she was surprised at how quickly the day had gone and how much she enjoyed herself. Ryan was happily tired with all his sailing experiences. Mum stated that she “could not remember such a great day”. She said she felt relaxed and happy at the end of the sail and was quickly enquiring when this could be repeated. This was repeated and she requested that her and Ryan be remembered for the next year.
Carers of 117 young people, will have had the opportunity to participate in either yacht cruising or motor sailing and will if they choose to identify another person to accompany their young person, will have the opportunity to use the time freed by sail.
We want carers who join us to feel welcome and enjoy the experience. Crew are asked not to use sailing jargon rather language that carers will understand. Parents are contacted by phone or their preferred method of communication prior to the sail to explain what the day will look like and what they need to wear and bring. This gives more information to able2sail than just the application form. Skippers are briefed using this information and their application forms so they can plan the appropriate sail and decide whether they will motor or put up the sails. Carers feel known and valued as soon as they are on the yacht. By putting carers at ease we feel we have successful partnership with the carers Comments from the evaluation included, “we had a brilliant day sailing to Lochgoilhead. We especially enjoyed seeing seals and a porpoise” “we had a fantastic day and were able to relax and enjoy the scenery, the crew were friendly and approachable”
Darius has been with the Youth Forum for approximately 6 years he has Aspergers. He has now volunteered to help able2sail with the day sails helping other young people. Darius has 4 younger siblings, 3 of whom also have additional support needs. His younger sister is also in the Youth Forum and sails for us although is not as keen on sailing as Darius and starting to enjoy horseriding. The family are incredibly supportive and attend all events whether they be sailing or socialising. They are wonderful supporters of the work that able2sail does and can be relied on to talk to other carers about their experiences of sailing and the effect it has on their family. Rightly they are incredibly proud of their children’s achievements. Mum, dad and all siblings went to Abu Dhabi to support Darius and Team GB sailing. This was a remarkable undertaking. The family had a wonderful time exploring such a different and diverse culture. They met up with other families who were also supporting Team GB and enjoyed their company and the whole experience. One night the family joined all the other families from all countries represented at the World Games for a wonderful evening meal (estimated at 10,000 family members). Every day they were down at the waterfront watching the sailing. It is a remarkable feat that the whole family were there. On returning to Scotland, mum expressed her pride in the fact that Darius was now relating much better with his siblings. It was also noted by the team how well he was interacting with Louis who has a hearing impairment and is Type 1 diabetic. They built up a wonderful friendship with lots of laughs. For mum and dad to consider such an undertaking is immense and shows the confidence in Darius and able2sail. They were so excited to see him and all Team GB do well. They supported other competitors whose family could not make it.
Carers will have had a sailing opportunity with their young person. They will feel included as a result of participating in a mainstream activity and they will have increased opportunity to meet new “friends” as a result of sailing experiences and the social event.
We found that this season more parents were keen to take more of an active role in sailing. We think that as parents find out about us and talk to either Social Work or other people who have been on sailing trips they have relaxed into learning new skills and not seeing sailing as something that other people do. We increased the number of social events with a “goodbye to Team GB” event at Castle Semple. This was very well supported by parents and extended families and was a very positive experience for all. Evaluation comments included, “can’t wait till the next trip. Thank you. Gusty conditions but felt very safe, great professional team, learned new rope skills” “we had an absolutely amazing day, can’t thank the crew enough for their time and patter, really appreciate it. Thank you so much”
Chris has various medical conditions including a heart problem and a learning disability. He has spent a long time in hospitals across the country and many of the procedures undertaken were painful and prolonged. He has a good sense of humour and this helped him many times during his recuperation. He has 2 older siblings one also has additional needs. Mum is a very positive lady with a positive attitude whilst also being a realist. Chris has come out with able2sail over the years and enjoyed the day sails. He has always been accompanied by carers other than mum as she said it “isn’t her thing”. The last time Chris was out on the yacht he was accompanied by his mum as she wanted to see what he was enjoying so much. He day was fine and the crew knew that this was mums first sail so made adjustments to keep the boat as steady as possible. Driving the boat was left to Chris and he had a wonderful time. Mum was very proud of how he managed on the boat his engagement with sailing and the crew. Mum said that whilst she valued the time she had before when Chris was sailing, she was so pleased to go out and have the day with Chris and the crew. She said it had really been a wonderful day