for Individuals with Physical, Developmental or Intellectual Challenges
By launching its ‘SeaLegs’ Adaptive Sailing Program, Sail Cape Cod has created opportunities for all disabled youth, adults and veterans to help them overcome adversity through therapeutic sailing. While learning how to sail is fun and enjoyable, participants would also experience increased self-confidence, the camaraderie of teamwork, and improved leadership skills.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Lyndon Paul Lorusso Foundation in 2015 and the assistance of Sturgis Boatworks in Yarmouth, Sail Cape Cod purchased and retrofitted a specially-equipped Fareast 18 sailboat for the‘SeaLegs’ Adaptive Sailing Program which isdedicated to serving disabled sailors, both first-time and experienced.The adaptive sailboat is custom designed so that even the more disabled sailor can skipper the boat. It is equipped with a heavily-weighted bulb keel, modular, supported seats, and custom-made sailplan and is specially designed to give disabled sailors ready access to steering and sail trimming.
Thanks to the donation of this J-22 keelboat by the Hyannis Yacht Club in 2017, Sail Cape Cod retrofitted this boat for the ‘SeaLegs’ Adaptive Sailing Program with a specialized 'Tackmaster' seating system to accommodate various disabilities. This versatile, stable platform is used for both the Adaptive and Community Outreach programs.
Chairperson - 'SeaLegs' Program
As a lifelong sailor, and now, someone with a significant physical disability due to spinal cord trauma, Laurel Labdon of Brewster knows firsthand how valuable sailing can be for someone living with a disability. “Even though my particular circumstances have enabled me to continue to get out on my family's boat and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of sailing, I am so excited for the opportunity that Sail Cape Cod’s Adaptive Sailing Program now provides to the disabilities community. To gain freedom and independence, to learn new skills, and to participate in this sport are immeasurable in their importance. The self esteem, confidence and feelings of accomplishment that sailing gives to anyone is multiplied infinitely for those of us in the disabled community, where the options to participate in many activities is extremely limited.”
Sail Cape Cod's instructor staff have been specially trained through US Sailing's Adaptive Instructor Training Program to accommodate various levels of disabilities, physical, developmental and cognitive, as well as those going through physical or emotional therapy.
With cooperation from the Town of Barnstable and funding from Rockland Trust, Sail Cape Cod has purchased and installed a portable hoyer-style lift at the Gary Brown Ramp dock in Hyannis to accommodate disabled sailors in need of boarding assistance from wheelchair to sailboat.