I taught, or rather re taught, a guy how to sail after he lost
the use of his legs in a motor
. He was a good sailor, we just needed to work out the logistics. He did not use a wheel
chair aboard, but left it tied up on the dock
. He did use a small soft gel seat that he strapped into. The seat allowed him to drag, bang, and scrape against the boat, shrouds, cabin
top etc. while protecting his bottom and hips. You must be very diligent of skin break down and unknown injury, checking after every sail. Plus he needs to keep his butt, legs and feet dry as salt water
can cause skin break down faster than he might be used to. I'd even recommend leg protectors for the beginning if he can stand them, and still be able to get around the deck
. I don't know how severe your friends condition is, some of this may not apply.
My friend ended up buying
a Cape Dory
30 and living aboard
. We found that small narrow boats were much safer, and easier to get around on. he could get to the main sail boom well and the companionway
was perfect for him getting in and out. The bigger boats can be precarious with hand holds farther apart. He did have full use of his arms and had trunk strength.
This is from a website geared toward disabled sailors
Sailability Safety Manuals - Cerebral Palsy
Implications for Sailing
Cerebral Palsy is the result of an injury to part of the brain before it has finished developing. It is non-progressive, it doesn't get worse. This injury affects parts
of the brain that control and co-ordinate the muscles which move the body. Therefore people with cerebral palsy have difficulties with movement and posture.
There are three main types of cerebral palsy:
Spasticity - These people find that when they try to move, certain muscles contract
and go stiff. Then the muscles suddenly release. These people also have abnormal posture and poor hand function with a certain amount of sensory loss.
Athetosis - People with athetosis have their movements hindered by lots of unintentional, uncontrollable extra movements. These actions tend to increase with excitement or nervousness. Athetosis generally affects the whole body but one side may be more affected.
Ataxia - Usually people with ataxia have a degree of spasticity or athetosis as well. These people have difficulty in walking or moving steadily. They have trouble making controlled movements with their hands and feet so they appear clumsy and uncoordinated.
Difficulties Associated with Cerebral Palsy
Some people with cerebral palsy may also have an intellectual disability. However it is important to realise that many people have normal or above normal intelligence, this is most likely with athetoids. Cerebral palsy may also be associated with vision or hearing loss and epilepsy. People with Cerebral Palsy may not have perfect control over the muscles of their mouth and throat so that speaking and eating may be difficult. Some may have trouble controlling their facial expressions. The brain injury which causes cerebral palsy does not get worse as the person gets older. However the effects of the cerebral palsy on the person will change over the years.
There are many possible causes of cerebral palsy. The most significant aspect is that the damage occurs to the brain before it has fully developed. This may happen if the birth is premature, prolonged or difficult. Sometimes the damage occurs in early childhood through brain infections (meningitis) or through actual brain injury of the sort that may be sustained in a car accident
. Cerebral palsy is not inherited. It is extremely rare for there to be more than one case in a family
Implications for Sailing
Many people with cerebral palsy will need lifting in and out of boats.
Sailors with CP may tire easily.
Poor circulation means they will get cold quickly and therefore may be susceptible to hypothermia. Sailors with CP shouldn't be out on the water
too long in cold weather
and will need appropriate clothes.
Sailors with CP often have difficulty with control of limbs and are prone to bumps and bruising. It is highly recommended that these sailors keep their feet covered at all times to avoid injury.
Other links for CP sailors
Sailors with disABILITIES SWD - Providing Inspiration to People with Disabilities
BBC News - Isle of Wight solo sail for cerebral palsy girl Natasha Lambert
Cheers, happy sailing