Special needs sailing

MSC offers sailing opportunities for individuals with special needs, and in turn encourages them to become members. Access boats have been specifically purchased for this aspect of sailing and sail training is also arranged during the summer months. We provide significant voluntary help from members in providing time and equipment for our courses. Sport can play a role in tackling social inclusion. We fully support and encourage the full integration of adults with physical and sensory disabilities (PWD) into mainstream adult sailing classes. Each year one week or two weekends of sail training are offered as part of our ongoing commitment to social inclusion in the sport of sailing.

"A great success" was how Rose McGowan described her week of training with Mullaghmore Sailing Club (MSC).  Rose, and nine of her colleagues, finished their week of training for Special Needs sailors with a barbeque at which all participants received their Irish Sailing Association Certificates.

The training programme was a joint initiative organised by Mullaghmore Sailing Club and the Irish Wheelchair Association.  It was the first step in what is hoped will be an on-going programme into the future.  Helen Rochford Brennan, the Development Manager of The Wheelchair Association office expressed great satisfaction with the success of the training and the enthusiasm with which it was received by each of the participants.   The next challenge facing the Association,  she said, will be to "obtain boats designed for Special Needs sailors".

Colm McGrogan conducted the training programme and, in awarding Certificates to the participants, he said that "he never before worked with a group who demonstrated such commitment and showed such improvement in their first week of sailing".

Without the new all-weather Pontoon, completed by Sligo County Council at Mullaghmore, access to and from boats would not have been possible for the Special Needs sailors.  This provided a further benefit for this great new facility to the harbour and was welcomed by all the participants.

A number of the Special Needs trainees, who received their Start of Sailing Certificates, now plan to become members of   Mullaghmore Sailing Club and, together with other club members, hope to chart out a new era for Special Needs Sailing in the region.

"Their knowledge and expertise made us feel relaxed and safe every day despite any mobility challenges we needed to confront", June Robert's experience of special needs sailing at MSC.  June sailed in Ocean Dreams in 2007 and in a letter to John McKeown said that every member of of the junior and senior teams were extremely helpful and supportive. 

This site will inform you of the aims and activities of the Irish Disabled Sailing Association(IDSA). Their aim is to encourage more people with disabilities to participate in the wonderful sport of sailing.