for individuals with special needs
Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the freedom and exhilaration that sailing can provide. YSF makes that possible for sailors with disabilities with our specially trained instructors and uniquely equipped sailboats. Military veterans are also encouraged to participate and may be accompanied by service animals or caregivers.
Our fleet of Hansa Sailing Dinghies allow an instructor to sit alongside a student and are steered with an easy to use joystick. They have a weighted centerboard and rudder, making them very stable while sailing and impossible to turn over. Our O’Day Mariners also have a weighted centerboard for stability, are steered with a traditional tiller, and the roomy cockpit allows several sailors to sail together, with or without an instructor.
Kym Helwig, Program Director, is uniquely qualified to direct this adaptive program, with specialized training in teaching students with special needs as well as US Sailing Adaptive Sailing training.
Safety on the water is of utmost importance. Sailors and instructors wear Coast Guard approved PFDs (life jackets) on the dock and on the water. Each sailor sails with an instructor aboard with them or alongside them in a safety boat. A close eye is kept on the weather.
All adaptive sailing programs are provided to Indian River County sailors free of charge.
“Sailing is the one time during the week where my daughter can experience success. She looks forward to this day all through the week.”
-- Parent of program participant