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(APVA - Portuguese Adapted Sailing Association)

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Sailability International meets at IFDS YES Conference, Amsterdam

Delegates representing Sailability in Singapore, Australia, UK, Hungary, Greece, Netherlands, Austria,
La Voile Ensemble (France), Associação Portuguesa de Vela Adaptada (Portugal)


During December, IFDS held the very successful Youth Enabled Sailing Conference (YES) in Amsterdam. This was the first conference of its type with 120 delegates, representing 33 countries attending. Delegates participated in a busy two day schedule of workshops, presentations, and browsed through a very comprehensive exhibition of boats, equipment and displays.


This was an outstanding opportunity for many new countries to be introduced tosailing for people with disabilities.
The day before the Conference, Sailability representatives from nine countries were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet face to face. Even though everyone was well acquainted through email contact, this was the first opportunity for many to meet each other. A number of important topics were discussed at the meeting including future development, Sailability International Inc. wishes to heartily congratulate IFDS on the triumphant YES Conference and thank IFDS for the opportunity to hold the Sailability meeting.


Currently there are 331 Sailability clubs operating in 14 countries. Sailability International Incorporated comprises the active national Sailability organisations of UK, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, USA, France, Greece, Italy, Austria, Netherlands and Hungary.


Sailability originated in Great Britain in the 1980. In 1991 Sailability was introduced to Australia and since 1995 Sailability has proliferated throughout the world, improving the lives of many thousands of disadvantaged and disabled people through the activity of sailing.
For more information
In: Access Dinghy Telltales
Official Newsletter of the Access Dinghy Foundation
March, 2005 - Volume 6, Issue 2




Sailability Portugal                                                                                                                    Actualização:  21-Fev-2005

Portugal is certainly one of the countries were sailing should be a national sport. However, as time goes by, this country of sailors has been loosing his capability to sail. Although this is not entirely true, today sailing is located at yacht clubs, with their backs turned to the population in general, and for this reason only very few Portuguese sail. Furthermore, the prices of boats or any other sailing material are to high for the majority of the population.

With this scenario as background, the idea of funding an Association for disabled sailors in Portugal seems to be something with no chances at all to survive. Yet, a sum of circumstances allowed to invite Chris and Jackie from SAILABILITY to visit us. So, in few months an idea grew very fast, sponsors appeared and several persons of Porto and Algarve joined their efforts to build the APVA -  Portuguese Adapted Sailing Association - Sailability Portugal.

However, we do not forget the important support given by CNFafe - Clube Náutico de Fafe, ARVN - Associação Regional de Vela do Norte (Porto), Governo Civil do Porto and CIMAV - Clube Internacional da Marina de Vilamoura, who sponsored us with institutional recognition, logistic and financial support among others.

The presence at Porto of a "Raquero" class school-boat and the very recent acquisition of an electric 2.3 Dinghy allowed to start a school with disabled persons and at the same time to teach sailing for nondisabled persons that will, in future, help disabled sailors.

Since then, several demonstrations have been made to hundreds of persons and an enthusiastic movement is growing.

At this moment, many projects, aiming to acquire dinghies and support boats, were delivered to local town halls and are still waiting for approval, but we are already sure that we will sail!

By Bruno Valentim Sailability Portugal


The  word of Bruno Valentim, Chairman of APVA

It is the conviction of the Portuguese Adapted Sailing Association (APVA – Associação Portuguesa de Vela Adaptada) that the way any person sees himself depends, among other factors, of her degree of autonomy. In the case of severe disabled persons, as in many cases, autonomy is lost very near to 100%. By sailing solo, in total safety, it is most certainly that, at least the feeling of autonomy will be improved in those persons.

Apart from the solo or non-solo sailing question, our Association was concerned, since the beginning of its formation that no double discrimination of disabled persons should be made, i.e.:



Therefore, the development of the Portuguese national programme started with manual and electric servo-assisted boats that are not expensive. This way, sponsors feel very comfortable to sponsor our programme and, step-by-step, from 2002 up to 2004 the number of disabled sailing boats increased from zero to thirty-three boats. And we are expecting that in the next five years we will multiply the number by ten.

If that’s the case, by 2008 in Beijing there will be a pyramid of Portuguese disabled sailors from which we can select skilful sailors, comprising all physical functionalities, to participate in all classes of paralimpic boats, i.e.: Sonar, 2.4 and, let’s hope so, ACCESS Liberty.

Unfortunately, or not, it has been more easy to acquire Liberties than Sonar or 2.4, once the former it is not yet recognized as a paralimpic class. In fact, the low prices of the Liberties give us no other alternative than buy them and promote championships. Additionally, for those that are familiarized with the ACCESS class, the three models can be combined among themselves to promote: (i) initiation; (ii) practice, and; (iii) competition. All of them at very low cost.

The sum of these three factors is also enhancing educational projects apart from the ones that are purely recreational. Therefore, institutional protocols are being held between APVA, schools and universities. And this is promoting inclusion of the disabled students in the physical activity practice because they can sail a boat side-by-side with their colleagues without any disadvantage.

So we have no doubts that we are in the right way in the promotion of disabled sailing and it would be a great achievement for us that our work can be viewed as an example and help to promote the recognition of the ACCESS Liberty as a paralimpic class.

Finally, we conclude that if the visible face of the disabled sport are the paralimpics the inclusion of a total autonomy boat for severe disabled sailors will have major repercussions not only in the future of disabled sailing but also to severe disabled persons inclusion in the society by showing their outstanding performances.

Oporto-Portugal, 30 of  Mach of 2004


The Portuguese Association of Adapted Sailing (APVA) is affiliated at the Portuguese Sailing Federation that in turn is affiliated at IFDS. Additionally, is also part of Sailability International by promoting sailing for all. Therefore, since the beginning of our young association our aim was to include severe disabled potential sailors and avoid expensive sailing. Slowly but steady the number of our sailors increased together with the number of available boats. Furthermore, during our first year, we have endorsed a major movement towards demonstrations and divulgation based on the ACCESS class of boats and the result was the creation of groups located at Algarve (CIMAV), Lisbon (Clube Náutico da Boa Esperança and Clube do Mar da Expo), Nazaré (Cercina and Clube Náutico da Nazaré), Figueira da Foz (Clube Náutico da Figueira da Foz), Porto and Madeira Island (Clube Náutico do Funchal).

However, our major event was the participation at the 1st ACCESS Liberty World Championship. In that meeting our sailors end up in second and seventh positions, i.e., overcoming all our previsions and expectations. Additionally, experience and know-how were obtained for our technicians and, finally, a marvelous staying at Melbourne provided new friends and the way of visit the old ones.

The future… well very soon we will have about thirty 2.3 wide seat in Portugal and three Liberties. That’s a huge responsibility because we will have to make decisions about “sailing for all” and new demands such as competition, to increase the number of new disabled sailors and deal with the high competition elite sailors that will emerge.

It may seem hard but with good winds the boat will certainly get there.

By Bruno Valentim Sailability Portugal

Florida's Sailability Says "Captain Your Own Boat."

Read about one Quality of Life grantee.

Surrounded by water and balmy weather twelve months of the year, Florida’s Gulf Coast is an ideal setting for anyone drawn to the sport of sailing –particularly those people who live with paralysis and other physical disabilities.

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF) and Alder Allensworth, Vice President and guiding spirit of Sailability of Greater Tampa Bay, Inc. bring the joy and freedom of sailing to people with paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries and other conditions. Sailability, a volunteer-run non-profit organization based in Clearwater, Florida, was a 1st cycle 2002 recipient of a $5,000 Quality of Life grant – and used the funds to purchase Access Dinghy 303S, a state-of-the-art boat specially designed for spinal cord injured sailors who require a ventilator to breathe.  Since 2001, Sailability has taught 36 people with disabilities to sail, and the first sailor to use the Access Dinghy 303S is currently enrolled in land classes and expects to take to the waters in October.

Outfitted in Australia, Access Dinghy 303S features sophisticated navigational electronics and specialized safety features that provide additional stability and control.  “And control,” says Ms. Allensworth, “is key to the value of a Sailability experience.”

"I encourage my sailors to be as independent as possible," she said.  "After all, they’re in the boat alone and responsible for every detail.  I make it clear that when they’re sailing, they’re in charge."  Why is that so important?  "Someone who has been injured and disabled is forced to be dependent on other people," said Allensworth.  "Here at Sailability, we make sure that our sailors captain their own boat."

See: http://www.christopherreeve.org/QLGrants/QLGrants.cfm?ID=844&c=12#A

 QoLife2004Sailability2                      QoLife2004Sailability4