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Old 24-08-2011, 06:19   #1
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Sailing with a Prosthetic Leg

My wife is getting ready for her upcoming leg surgury, (ankle replacement) and we already know that she is not a great candidate for this procedure. She has already had more than 20 surguries on this leg. If things don't go well during the procedure she has opted for amputation rather than fusion of the ankle.

I am looking for any of you that may know someone or have personal experience with sailing with a prostetic leg. It would be nice to find someone who can encourage her.

Bob
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Old 24-08-2011, 07:34   #2
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

Back in the early '90's, a fellow named Jess showed up at our marina, sailing a 30'r that he had bought in the Bay area & sailed down the coast to LA. It didn't take long to find out that he had lost a leg(above the knee) in Vietnam & wore a prosthetic.

Sailed many times, in company, with Jess..he mostly singlehanded..had his boat rigged with sheets led aft, as well as the ability to let loose the anchor from the cockpit, without going forward.

Intrestingly, over time, he told me that he found his prosthetic to be more of a hindrance than a help when underway, due to the knee failing to lock in position, so he made himself a "peg leg", like you might see in a pirate movie, which he wore at sea & swore by.

He upgraded to a 36' that year, fixed it up & one day took off..again, by himself. Last I heard from him, he was in Costa Rica, living the good life. He also rode a motorcycle, with a side-car..quite a guy!
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Old 24-08-2011, 07:39   #3
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

My son was hit by a drunk driver last year and had to have his left leg amputated below the knee. He has a prosthetic and comes to the boat often. He has no problems using the prosthetic with a boat shoe. He takes his leg off to go swimming and we modified the ladder to give him lower hand holds so it was easier for him to get back on the boat. We learned that if you realize that this is his 'normal' there are very few problems.
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Old 24-08-2011, 08:18   #4
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

Thanks to both of you for your replies. I believe that my wife is a strong enough person to over come this. She also was a victim of a drunk driver. The good news is that, either way, the pain will stop. After 20 years, thats a blessing in itself.
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Old 24-08-2011, 08:27   #5
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

Very best wishes to your good lady. I watched Prince Harry (UK) last night doing the North Pole with a bunch of Army Casualties. An arm/hand is much more disabling than a leg or two, the back even more so. They did 300 miles un-assisted with only guides. Don't expect your lady to do that, but with the advances being made nowadays losing a leg is, relatively speaking, one of the easier injuries. Being free of pain must also figure in her assessment. There will be issues in adapting to a false leg, but there'll be plenty of smiles, and a lot of sailing miles, to follow.
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Old 24-08-2011, 09:16   #6
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

You all might want to contact John Silverwood (authour Black Wave)

5 years after loosing his leg in a boating accident he and his family are preparing to depart the Pacific coast for another cruise. he uses a prosthetic leg and has continued sailing and I bet would be someone who could help your wife thru this difficult time.

Bio

best of luck.
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Old 24-08-2011, 09:25   #7
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

i know of 2 guys in sd who sailed with prosthetic legs. they seemed to do well.....
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Old 24-08-2011, 10:16   #8
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

I think with a well fitted prosthetic she would be good.

After all... there is prior art ... arghhh!
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Old 24-08-2011, 10:29   #9
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

Oh that peg leg would be smashing with an old school woody... maybe a ketch rig with manilla lines and teak decks...

On the other hand if she is planning on sailing a more contemporary vessel I would think something like this


would be more in keeping with the aesthetics of the boat...
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Old 24-08-2011, 10:37   #10
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

Hmmm... so it looks like they could install a socket in the boat and she could then make a positive connection to the vessel for watches and other duties..
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Old 24-08-2011, 11:05   #11
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

Actually, in a meeting with the makers of prostetics, I mentioned to the guy that we were sailors and asked about a wooden peg. He said he had made one for a patient who was in a play. Of course, he was playing a pirate.

Bob
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Old 24-08-2011, 11:08   #12
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

Well keep us all posted Bob, so we can send the good thoughts her way!
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Old 24-08-2011, 11:26   #13
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

The new prosthetics I see are amazing. IF she does have to loose the leg below the knee I would think it can work out well in the end. There are some high end sailing shoes that grip amazingly (Sebago SPS Force 8 etc) maybe one of these could be fitted. I wish her the best of luck.
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Old 24-08-2011, 11:37   #14
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

People actually race with prosthetic legs, anything from sprints to marathons. Oscar Pistorius, a South African double-amputee sprinter was forbidden from entering the 2008 Summer Olympics because his prostheses were believed to give him an unfair advantage over athletes using the old-style, natural limbs. So be careful when you enter sailboat races with your wife on board - you might be disqualified for having a super-enabled crew.
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Old 24-08-2011, 11:40   #15
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Re: Sailing with a prostetic leg

knew a sailor in grenada who was a thalidamide baby,he was the original "single handed sailor" he only had one good arm and one good leg!!!!! and would single hand up and down the windies....
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