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Old 17-02-2013, 17:45   #16
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

My very first day in a foreign port I met two different couples. The first couple rowed up to us and started talking, and we invited them on board. My boat had such little freeboard that I didnt normally lower the lifelines to get on or off. The couple came onboard and I thought that the man had a little bit of trouble. We talked for a long time and learned that the man had, what he called his TIN LEG,(fiberglass and hydraulics). He had built his own 40 foot Trimaran and they were taking off cruising. We became good friends over the next year or so of cruising, and he went on to go around the world, lose his boat in Gib, and build an even bigger Catamaran. The best story about Jeff was him taking his bagpipes up to the spreaders and playing Amazing Grace as some other friends were sailing out of an anchorage for a long passage. A few hours after meeting the first couple, another young couple that came alongside and started talking, so we invited them onboard. Again I didnt think to lower the lifelines. The lady came over the lifelines like a sack of potatoes and crashed onto the cockpit seats with this glowing smile saying OH! dont worry about me, my legs dont work too well. She had cerebral palsey and was not going to let it stop her from enjoying life. I felt awful about not thinking to lower the life lines, but that didnt bother her a bit. We crossed pathes with this couple many times going down BAJA and at one beach party, I remember the girl running down the beach with arms and legs flailing all over the place, and an incredibly beautiful smile on her face. I understand that there are overwhelming handicaps , but most handicaps are mental. Mind over matter. If you dont mind, it doesnt matter._______Grant.
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Old 18-02-2013, 15:08   #17
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

I taught, or rather re taught, a guy how to sail after he lost the use of his legs in a motor cycle accident. 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

Cerebral Palsy


Implications for Sailing

General Information

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.

Causes

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
Ocean Girl
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Old 18-02-2013, 15:33   #18
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

Excellent resources, Ocean Girl. A grog for you and all the other helpful posters. This is looking more doable all the time.

I'm getting more convinced that a Pearson Triton, with its low freeboard and ample side and foredeck, or some similar design is the way to go.
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Old 18-02-2013, 16:31   #19
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

Yep, and that an alberg design like the Cape Dory
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Old 18-02-2013, 17:22   #20
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

As I'm sure you know, the range of disabilities involved in "wheelchair bound" is extremely broad. As others have pointed out, it's going to take a few test sails, but probably not as many as you think.

I will mention that I used to play tennis doubles with a guy in a wheelchair. The first set, as the other team tried to take advantage of the "differently abled" player, was always amusing; the second set, when they finally figured out who the weak player was - well, not so much.
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Old 18-02-2013, 17:23   #21
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

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Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
Yep, and that an alberg design like the Cape Dory
Pretty much any of the old Alberg designs would do. Lemme know if you spot anything interesting in your area. it's only about a 4-5 hour drive for me
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Old 18-02-2013, 18:36   #22
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

Slightly different disability, but I was running as Captain on an EPA ship when the EPA had a deaf scientist that wanted to go on a 10-day trip with us.

None of my officers wanted to take him along, and I was borderline, but as he was not part of the ship's actual crew I had no legal way of saying "no". I did tell the higher up's that he was a test case and I'd see how it all worked out.

He did require a full time "signer/translator" and this worked OK in port - but the signer did not go on the actual voyage! The biggest problem was he could not hear any of the safety bells for fire/abandon ship or easily communicate with the crew in an emergency. Someone had to physically put their hand on his back (the signal for him to follow someone) to get his attention and then lead him to "safety".

While things worked out OK, at the end of the trip I forwarded by report to Washington and told them they should NOT send this type of disabled person out to sea as he was not "self rescuing" - which endangered both himself and others onboard.

Someone that required a wheelchair would be an absolute "no" as would a blind person. However, we did take scientists who where missing limbs and they always did fine.

Just remember, when something goes really wrong, you will tend to take care of your friend first - which may or may not be possible in an emergency situation. A tiny below deck fire could get you both killed as could flooding.

I think the suggestion of a rented houseboat on a small lake makes the most sense and you should have one additional person go along for safety.
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Old 18-02-2013, 19:04   #23
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

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Slightly different disability, but I was running as Captain on an EPA ship when the EPA had a deaf scientist that wanted to go on a 10-day trip with us.

None of my officers wanted to take him along, and I was borderline, but as he was not part of the ship's actual crew I had no legal way of saying "no". I did tell the higher up's that he was a test case and I'd see how it all worked out.

He did require a full time "signer/translator" and this worked OK in port - but the signer did not go on the actual voyage! The biggest problem was he could not hear any of the safety bells for fire/abandon ship or easily communicate with the crew in an emergency. Someone had to physically put their hand on his back (the signal for him to follow someone) to get his attention and then lead him to "safety".

While things worked out OK, at the end of the trip I forwarded by report to Washington and told them they should NOT send this type of disabled person out to sea as he was not "self rescuing" - which endangered both himself and others onboard.

Someone that required a wheelchair would be an absolute "no" as would a blind person. However, we did take scientists who where missing limbs and they always did fine.

Just remember, when something goes really wrong, you will tend to take care of your friend first - which may or may not be possible in an emergency situation. A tiny below deck fire could get you both killed as could flooding.

I think the suggestion of a rented houseboat on a small lake makes the most sense and you should have one additional person go along for safety.
I've got a better idea: Why don't we put anyone less able in an institution where they can be nice and safe and not trouble or endanger anyone else.
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Old 18-02-2013, 19:31   #24
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

First off, good on ya for undertaking such an adventure. I have sailed with a handicap friend and though somewhat undignified at times we managed quite well and he loved the experience so much we discussed adaptive technology so he could buy his own sailboat. Were there is a will - there is a way.

The smaller Tridon and Bristols will pose a storage problem but their small size may work to your advantage. I'd rig the boom with a 4:1 detachable block for getting your mate on and off and consider a way to keep him stable in the cockpit. Below deck will be a challenge but you can figure that out once you have the boat.

As for wheelchairs there are several light weight versions that fold and stow well, of course none of them electric.
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Old 18-02-2013, 19:46   #25
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

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I've got a better idea: Why don't we put anyone less able in an institution where they can be nice and safe and not trouble or endanger anyone else.
Your sarcasm is noted on on mark, but unfortunately that real attitude is still pervasive in our society. Handicaps vary widely and I endure one minor one myself, having lost an eye decades ago. Monocular I fly an airplane, have undertaken three separate overland expeditions driving through Mexico and Central America and recently single handed my boat over 2000 miles.

Yet some folks actually think my "disability" poses a danger to others and would prefer that I stay off the roads, skies and waterways.

My response to that is not appropriate on this forum.
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Old 18-02-2013, 19:51   #26
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

I would be one of the naysayers if I hadn't broken my foot this October and was desperate to winterize my boat before it got really freezing. Getting to the mooring and back was piece of cake. Inflatable dinghy helped big time as I sat down on the dock hanging my feet down to dink and then pushed myself off the edge right onto the tube. I climbed aboard in similar fashion, with my back facing the hull I would push myself up on deck. Low freeboard is definitely a big plus, mine is about 3 feet high. I donít think the wheelchair is something indispensable on the sail boat. There is always somewhere to sit on or something to hold on to and push and pull yourself around. This is how the sailboats are designed at the first place anyway. Surprisingly the whole experience wasnít that bad at all, as I came back a few more times to catch up with never ending brightwork. It just takes a bit of out of the box thinking and some extra time to do things handicapped.
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Old 18-02-2013, 19:57   #27
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

If the boat is set up properly it is doable. The club I belong to has a program called Able Sail with boats set up to accommodate people with disabilities.
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Old 18-02-2013, 20:38   #28
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

Quote:
I'd rig the boom with a 4:1 detachable block for getting your mate on and off and consider a way to keep him stable in the cockpit. Below deck will be a challenge but you can figure that out once you have the boat.
I'd alread thought of the boom tackle. I think we'll also find some innovative uses for a soft bottomed bosun's chair permanently worn; like snaping an additional tether to it to keep him in his cockpit seat among other things

I've also been noodling about a sliding bench seat athwartships between the settees to ease the trip fore and aft in the cabin for him.
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Old 19-02-2013, 04:12   #29
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

Check out this website. Sailors with disABILITIES SWD - Providing Inspiration to People with Disabilities

These guys take part in one of the world's toughest ocean races each year, the Sydney to Hobart and are truly inspirational as to what IS possible rather than what isn't.

Cheers
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Old 19-02-2013, 05:13   #30
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Re: Voyaging with a Handicapped Crew Mate

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While things worked out OK, at the end of the trip I forwarded by report to Washington and told them they should NOT send this type of disabled person out to sea as he was not "self rescuing" - which endangered both himself and others onboard.
I think you have a valid point on a person not being "self rescuing", and indeed in the (commercial) circumstances you describe where the person also has a responsibility for others then I think your call was right!

Nonetheless!, in OP's cirumstances I think different rules apply. The main one being is it fun enough (for all) given that their will be PITA things going on that don't apply to others. IMO as long as the person concerned is aware of the limitations on their ability to "self rescue" (and take care of themselves) and are willing to accept them (and the possible consequences!) then so be it......indeed, plenty of "fully functioning" folks onboard yachts who are not capable of self rescuing - especially if the Skipper goes glug ...and that is considered "normal".

Although of course not directly relevant - me late brother (aka Gungha Din ) was valued crew with me Father, and indeed was often the decider on whether a trip was done, both because it would make the trip more fun and more easily doable. Whilst physically able he had certain degree of mental handicap (broadly speaking - could have driven a car, just couldn't have coped on the road!).....boat wise father (and me) simply worked with (and around) his capabilities. In me Brother's case that meant he was good to stand watch, not too bad at keeping a visual course, not good on a compass course (an autopilot "cured" that ) was excellent at spotting when something amis and especially keeping an eye out for pots. Was ok on the foredeck - where the second pair of hands was very useful. Was also very good at doing the dishes ......all that meant he was valued crew and not simply from the desire to include him! The one big consideration for Father was that he would not have been self-rescuing (i.e. not have been able to get the boat home on his own) and whilst he was not able to make the decision to go anyway for himself (as was the case for many of his decisions in life), me father simply decided that overall going onboard was a benefit to him. and IMO he was 100% right .

The above a long winded way of saying fair play to you - give it a go and see what happens.
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