Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A sailing experience for the disabled



More and more disabled people seem to be moving into the neighbourhood, young people and adults, often strolling about, though usually independently.
In fact, they often seem to lead lonelier lives than if they were sailing around the world solo.
And that is a lonely existence, albeit that necessary and constant seafaring work means the solo sailor has little time to dwell on the solitariness.
When I sailed round, I expected to spend around 10 months without seeing another person.
However, damage from storms meant that I had to find a port for repairs. I think five months was the longest spell without seeing another person.

Rehearsing for a play?

I encountered a group of local disabled people on a train to Wimbledon the other day. This was the conversation they shared.
'The Mercedes is waiting outside.'
'Would you like a cup of tea?'
'Where's your jumper? It's cold today.'
As if they were rehearsing for a play, the sentences were repeated many, many times. Around the twentieth repetition, I wondered how they might react to a completely new experience, like sailing.
Would they comprehend that progress depends entirely on the wind?
I mentioned it at the gym the next day and learned that in New Zealand's capital, gorgeously wrapped around an attractive bay, a voluntary organisation does offer handicapped people the chance to at least experience what it's like to have the elements powering a sailing dinghy.
And the lucky disabled people who get that chance from the organisation, Sailability, includes the intellectually troubled like my new neighbours. Continues on the blogs for my ocean-travel adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com

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