Endless Possibilities Under Sail

People with disabilities are leaving their limitations at the dock. Organizations like Newport, Rhode Island's Shake-A-Leg, the first to offer adaptive sailing, are helping them access sailing. You don’t need sailing experience, gear, or even money. All you need is a desire to sail. For an interview with John Ross-Duggan, click here
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People with disabilities are leaving their limitations at the dock. Organizations like Newport, Rhode Island's Shake-A-Leg, the first to offer adaptive sailing, are helping them access sailing. You don’t need sailing experience, gear, or even money. All you need is a desire to sail. For an interview with John Ross-Duggan, click here

People with disabilities are leaving their limitations at the dock. Organizations like Newport, Rhode Island's Shake-A-Leg, the first to offer adaptive sailing, are helping them access sailing. You don’t need sailing experience, gear, or even money. All you need is a desire to sail.

For an interview with John Ross-Duggan, click here

Click here for details on the 2006 We Gotta Regatta.

Read on for a complete listing of programs across the United States.

East Coast


Shake-A-Leg offers youth summer sailing outings and mentor camps, kayaking and sailing programs for the developmentally disabled, summer fund-raising regattas, and other water sports programs. The program in Miami, located on Biscayne Bay, has had success extending its program to able-bodied sailors.
Miami, FL; tel. 305-858-5550


Newport, RI; tel. 401-849-8898


Accessible Sailing Adventures

Providing an educational and therapeutic experience for children with special physical needs and their families through hands-on sailing of America's first handicap-accessible tall ship Raw Faith.

Machais, ME; tel. 207-255-6286


Piers Park Sailing Center

Teaching sailing and developing character through the craft of seamanship, providing access to Boston Harbor and its islands. Offering adult memberships and courses, free youth sailing programs, adaptive sailing and racing in a fleet of ten Sonars and two Access Dinghies.

East Boston, MA; tel. 617-561-6677


Duxbury Bay Maritime School

Through the ACCESSAIL program, students are encouraged to take the helm, trim sails, and learn about sailing. Weekend and weekday classes, as well as the ACCESSAIL Regatta each summer.

Duxbury, MA; tel. 781-934-7555

Sail Connecticut Access Program

Training persons with special needs to pilot a sailboat and understand the joys of sailing in their two Independence 20s and a Pearson Ensign.

Westbrook, CT; tel. 860-664-9395; Dockside (seasonal) 860-304-6588


New England Competitive Sailing Center

Established to train and educate disabled individuals, and other competitive sailors, to the opportunities available in the amateur sport of sailing and sailboat racing.

Stamford, CT


Disabled Sports USA

Established in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans to serve the war injured, DS/USA now offers nationwide sports rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent physical disability. Activities include winter skiing, water sports, summer and winter competitions, fitness and special sports events.

Rockville, MD; tel. 301-217-0960


Downtown Sailing Center

Providing affordable access to quality sailing programs and events, education in sailing and water safety skills and sponsoring both recreational and racing opportunities in a fleet of 11 J/22s and four Sonar 23s. The DSC has worked with the School for the Blind to teach students to sail and since 1997 has introduced almost 2,000 Baltimore City 2nd and 3rd graders to sail through SuperKids Camp, the Housing Department Youth Centers and the Police Athletic League.

Baltimore MD; tel. 410-727-0722


Chesapeake Regional Accessible Boating

Essential to the process is acquainting these persons, young and old, with the potential for joy and empowerment that mastery of the forces of the winds over water in sailing craft can provide. They host the Crab Cup Regatta each June, as well as weekly Sunday racing in Freedom 20s, 21s and 22s.

Annapolis, MD


Hampton Roads Community Sailing Center

Sail Hampton Roads works with area hospitals, rehabilitation centers and agencies that serve the disabled community to provide sailing instruction and recreational opportunities to people with disabilities. Every Friday, April through October, 1-4pm.

Hampton, VA; tel. 757-651-4273


Sailing Alternatives

The four week program is meant to successfully bring a student with no prior knowledge of sailing to the point where they can navigate a 19 foot boat and return safely to the dock while enjoying an afternoon of sailing. Courses use Illusions, 2.4 mRs, and Rhodes 19s.

Sarasota, FL; tel. 941-377-4986



Creating advanced sailboat racing for disabled elite sailors from around the world, in conjunction with Shake-A-leg Miami.

Miami, FL; tel. 305-776-8778




Headquartered in Australia, Sailibility operates 350 clubs worldwide, offering affordable, accessible sailing activities and education to children and adults of all abilities focusing on community integration to improve their quality of life.
Clearwater, FL; tel. 727-789-9058


Tradewinds Foundation

Offering three new sailing programs in Access Dinghies for disabled adults and children at risk.

Dania Beach, FL; tel. 800-734-8930

Stockton, CA; tel. 877-477-4161

New Hartford, NY; tel. 888-595-2628


South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association

Including 40 member yacht clubs through Georgia and the Carolinas, SAYRA sails with disabled sailors - blind, quadraplegic, paraplegic or with other disabilities.


West Coast

Disabled Sailing Association of British Columbia

With more than 300 participants and 80 volunteers, DSA strives to increase the independence, motivation and quality of life for people with significant physical disabilities. They race Martin 16s in a slew of regattas and weekly races.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; tel. 604-688-6464


Footloose Sailing Association

Anyone can sail a boat and leave their disability behind and everyone enjoys independence on the water. Their programs include day sailing on Lake Washington, regattas and overnight cruises.

Seattle, WA; tel. 206-382-2680


Treasure Island Sailing Center

Ranging from introductory sailing for children and adults to competitive training for individuals preparing for the US Paralympic Sailing Team. Sailing on Access Dinghies, Sonars, and J24's.

San Francisco, CA; tel. 415-421-2225


Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS)

BAADS is a group of more than 100 sailors. About half have disabilities. Some have experience, some don't. They have hosted the US Independence Cup and the North American Challenge Cup. They also offer Sunday cruises each week from their berth at Pier 40.

San Francisco, CA; tel. 415-281-0212


Challenged America

A charitable program providing free, year-round, learn-to-sail and advanced sailing instructions for disabled children and their loved ones.

Shelter Island, San Diego, CA; tel. 619-523-9318


Access to Sailing

Interactive day sails are the heart of the programs, aboard the 64-foot ketch Varsouviana, where participants are encouraged to get actively involved. They also teach boating safety and certification classes.

Long Beach, CA; tel. 562-433-0561


Great Lakes

Bayfront Center for Maritime Studies

Teaching life and classroom skills through hands-on boat building, sail training environmental studies and other maritime related activities.

Erie, PA; tel. 814-456-4077


Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program

Offering sailing courses, weekly racing, annual regattas and leisure cruises to people with all disabilities, JGASP is a public/private partnership with the Chicago Park District: the Foundation raises funds for instructor salaries, boats and maintenance costs while the Park District operates the Program on a day-to-day basis. The fleet consists of eight Freedom 20's, three Sonars, and two 2.4 meter sailboats.

Chicago, IL; tel. 312-747-7684


Y-Knot Sailing Association

An adaptive sailing program designed and run by and for people with disabilities, based out of the YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George, with a Freedom and a Rainbow 24.

Kattskill Bay, NY; 518-656-9462


STRIDE – Sports and Therapeutic Recreation Instruction/Developmental Education.

A multidisciplinary, educational organization specializing in therapeutic recreation-related services for individuals with disabilities. Offering sailing, skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, bowling, baseball and swimming programs.

Rensselear, NY; tel. 518-598-1279


Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center>br>
Their Adaptive Watersports Program offers sailing, kayaking and canoeing classes at all levels, from supervised recreational sailing to independent racing competition. Their extensive fleet consists of seven Escapes, six Hobie One-14s, 14 Club 420s, three Rhodes 19s, four Sonar 23s, plus a Martin 16, an Access Dinghy, a Sonar 23 and 12 canoes and kayaks.

Burlington, VT; winter tel. 802-862-8993 x. 122; summer 802-864-2499




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