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Sailing is one of the best adaptive activities you can imagine, and for those who practice it already it is usually a real passion – or an obsession, you but a great one! Such a strong passion that the need to share it is… explosive! Meet the people who make it possible for you to sail the seas no matter what your abilities are.

Some of our experiences are suited to all, some only to people using manual wheelchairs (depending on the adaptations in the boats themselves), but we will be putting together more and more accessible sailing experiences so if you know of anyone you would like to recommend, send us a message on info ( at ) destinationeverywhere . eu and we will be very happy to get in touch and list them in this website!

Accessible sailing – Cadamà

Cadamà is the project of Andrea Brigatti, born in Milan in 1967 with a huge passion for travel since a very early age. After an accident in 2003 he starts using a wheelchair but this does not stop him from continuing to pursue his passion for travel and sports, and in particular for sailing.

The boat Cadamà was built in 1971 in the shipyards of La Spezia and is today the only historical vessel entirely accessible for people who use a wheelchair. The disabled users can access all spaces and can move around thanks to the installation of lifts and of special shell-seats, “cocoons”, that guarantee stability and safety.  

The project for the adaptations of the boat took 4 years to complete:  a special bridge allows access to the boat and the system of cocoons allows the person to stay fixed but also to move around in an ergonomic way between the different positions, so that the person can  choose wether to use or not the wheelchair while sailing.

Andrea Brigatti, creator of Cadamà, and a friend on the boat having fun.

The crew is composed of three people who take care of the navigation and of the maximum 7 guests who can be on the boat. The boat has an owner cabin (bedroom) with a double bed and a single bed with annexed bathroom, all entirely accessible. There are also two non accessible cabins with bunk beds with a shared bathroom. During the day, up to 4 wheelchair users can be on the boat.   

The measurements for the wheelchairs that can access the boat are: maximum chair width is 67 cm (if with canted wheels it is from the bottom part of the wheels – if not the measure is from “handrims” on the wheels: lenght from back of the main wheels to caster wheels center is 75 cm (footrest can exceed this lenght). Electric wheelchairs cannot go below deck due to the weight and size.

The boat is moored at the harbour Riva di Traiano, Civitavecchia, 10 minutes away from Fiumicino Airport, and it is possible to organize the transfer upon request. 

Cadamà was created mainly for people with mobility impairments that want to live for the first time or re-live the experience of sailing or doing a cruise, and it can be rented for a whole week or the weekend by contacting the team at the email address info@cadama.it. Ask them for availability, price and any further info you may need and…get on board!

For the full plan of the boat and the measurements, visit Cadama’s website.

All mobility in the boat is guaranteed by a system of cocoons and wheelchair lifts adapted for manual chairs.

Accessible sailing with the Disabled Sailors Association

An experienced sailor since the 80s, Mike sailed on dinghys and organised regular racing at various venues around the UK, and the big success of the operation led him to create his own association, seeing that the existing ones were not accepting people with all kinds of disability, which was his specific goal, or were not equipped for people with any kind of disability at all. 

He set up a charity that would help people with absolutely any type of disability to sail, the Thomas Morley Trust (named after a respected member of his family) but this has since become known as the Disabled Sailors Association

Photos courtesy of Disabled Sailors

Sailing in a suitable boat is a superb activity for disabled people and you either love it or hate it. For Mike it was life changing, just “the freedom of being alone on the water was a revelation”.  In 1995 he raised the funds and had the first of the roll on roll off (RoRo) fully wheelchair accessible yachts built, Verity K.  After the success of Verity, in 2000 he had Spirit of Scott Bader built and both yachts, without any advertising ,have always run at near capacity. 

Both yachts are still unique in the world and there is demand world wide for more such accessible yachts. A few yachts have been built that offer ‘some’ wheelchair access for wealthy individuals and a few yachts have been modified to allow limited access but none offer the accessibility or experience of the DSA RoRo yachts. 

Photo courtesy of Disabled Sailors

The DSA purchased 10 each of the most popular monohull and multihull dinghies and for 10 sailing seasons loaned them to disabled people and adapted or modified the dinghies based on the feedback from the disabled people to arrive at designs that were suitable and interesting for all types of disabled people to sail. Since the start, over 40.000 people have sailed both in the UK and in Southern Spain, where the Disabled Sailors have a centre in Murcia. Currently Mike is promoting an initiative to take 4000 wheelchair users on the sea… will you be one of them?

Contacts

You can join these wonderful sailors in the UK or in Spain, where they sail all year round. Visit their website for all the necessary information.

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