If you’ve ever dreamed of sailing the Greek Islands, learning to man your own boat in sunny Mallorca or cross oceans whilst living out those life-at-sea fantasies, then you’ll be happy to know that in this day and age, a disability needn’t hold you back. Whether you or someone close to you is itching to get out on the water, there is a wide range of possibilities for those with disabilities, from meeting like-minded individuals at a local dinghy sailing club to taking your skills offshore on a yacht. There are also plenty of travel companies, keen to cater to the lucrative disabled holiday market, that offer accessible sailing holiday opportunities all over the globe. The real question, as it always is for anyone with a passion for travel, is: where to next?
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national body for all forms of boating in the UK, including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, powerboats, windsurfing and narrow boats. They offer a national programme called Sailability, which is designed to enable people with disabilities to give sailing a try or turn it into a new hobby. You don’t even need to be a strong swimmer to reap the benefits of sailing - the network of approved Sailability sites offers boats and facilities that cater to everyone. It’s the perfect way to find a site near you that can provide a taster, should you prefer to try before you buy a longer accessible sailing holiday abroad.
Adventure from Cape Town to the Caribbean: If you’re willing to spend a few grand on an unforgettable adventure sailing holiday of a lifetime, why not consider one of the dazzling multi-week itineraries offered by Classic Sailing? This organisation’s USP is that it operates the only two tall ships in the world specifically designed to enable people of all physical abilities to sail alongside each other on equal terms. One of the most tempting choices is an incredible 46-day expedition on one of the company’s adapted ships that traverses the equator, from beautiful Cape Town to the exotic Caribbean.
Island-hopping in Greece: One of the most popular sailing holidays in Europe, island-hopping the Greek islands makes for a wonderful way to get the most out of the region and take in as much sea, sun, sand and ancient history as you can handle. DRYachting provides special programmes that last from two days to two weeks with fully accessible yachts that can accommodation 6-10 guests. Passengers need no previous experience of sailing in order to take part and you can expect visits to key archaeological sites, beautiful bays and a full time captain and guide.
Activity break in Mallorca: If sailing is just one element of a host of activities you’d like to attempt on your next holiday, visit the charming island of Mallorca where outdoor pursuits are a way of life. Group activities are a great way to bond as friends or family and Fundacion Handisport Mallorca offers sailing, waterskiing, canoeing and diving for people of all abilities to try together. They even offer blokart, an activity that can only really be described as sailing on land.
A comfortable cruise: Of course, for some people, a holiday isn’t a holiday if they have to do any work. That’s why an accessible cruise where your every whim is catered to could be the trip that ticks your boxes. The best cruise lines provide excellent accessible facilities and can even provide a crew member dedicated to your personal care in the event of an emergency. Cruise Critic recently summarised the best ships for disabled passengers, which noted: Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises excellent on board facilities; Celebrity’s varied accessible shore excursions; Disney Cruise Line’s family-friendly accessible features.
Wherever you choose to sail the seven seas, be sure to book the right travel insurance for your trip. Medical Travel Compared can help you find the best policy for your circumstances, including those with pre-existing conditions, so that you can get back to focusing on the fun stuff.