Sail Able pro­gram re­turns

North­ern Yacht Club wel­comes peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY CHRIS­TIAN ROACH news@cb­post.com

Sail­ing pro­gram for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties is back in the wa­ter.

This sum­mer the North­ern Yacht Club is do­ing its part to make sure ev­ery­one has a chance to en­joy the open seas — re­gard­less of lim­i­ta­tions.

“You just feel like you’re mak­ing that much of a dif­fer­ence for peo­ple with these dis­abil­i­ties — when you get them on the wa­ter, it’s just sheer joy,” said ju­nior sail­ing head coach Ge­orgina Hatcher.

Hatcher and other trained in­struc­tors teach peo­ple with phys­i­cal or de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties to sail. Last year the pro­gram was can­celled due to a lack of in­struc­tors. This year the North­ern Yacht Club is fully staffed and en­thu­si­as­tic to spread the word that they’re back.

Sail Able ad­min­is­tra­tor Mag­gie Bun­bury said there’s al­ready in­ter­est in the com­mu­nity this time around.

“There’s a sledge hockey team that’s in­ter­ested, we’ve also had peo­ple who have done it in pre­vi­ous years that are re­ally ex­cited too.”

Bun­bury said she’s seen first­hand how ben­e­fi­cial the pro­gram can be.

“Its some­thing new, they re­ally get stim­u­lated by hav­ing new ex­pe­ri­ences and just to con­tact peo­ple in their com­mu­nity they wouldn’t see in the run of a day,” Bun­bury added. “Sail­ing on the wa­ter for any­body is a great ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Hatcher said it’s a joy for ev­ery­one in­volved in the pro­gram, in­clud­ing her­self as an in­struc­tor.

“They re­ally love get­ting out there. They feel so in­volved with the boat and the sail­ing com­mu­nity, so my­self I just love to be able to share my sail­ing skills with peo­ple in that way.”

The pro­gram started in 2013 with four peo­ple reg­is­tered — that num­ber in­creased to seven in 2014 and 10 in 2015.

This sea­son, the North­ern Yacht Club aims to blow those num­bers out of the wa­ter.

To­day, the club will have an in­for­ma­tion/reg­is­tra­tion ses­sion from 7- 9 p.m. to wel­come new­com­ers or any­one in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about Sail Able.

The club has an open house sched­uled for June 24 from 1-3 p.m. so fu­ture sailors can meet their in­struc­tors and other peo­ple who are join­ing the pro­gram.

The spe­cial­ized yacht, the Free­dom In­de­pen­dence, will also be at the North­ern Yacht Club for the open house so peo­ple in the pro­gram can see it first-hand.

The pro­gram is set to be­gin on July 3 with 90-120-minute sails cost­ing $5.

CHRIS­TIAN ROACH/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Head coach Ge­orgina Hatcher, left, and Sail Able ad­min­is­tra­tor Mag­gie Bun­bury stand in front of the North­ern Yacht Club in North Syd­ney.

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