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Unexpected first disabled sailor at St Ives Sailing Club

by Simon Ashmore 26 Aug 2014 08:10 BST 23 August 2014
St Ives Sailing Club dinghy Redemption with (l to r) Graeme Sennen (helm), Simon Ashmore, Paul Maskell & Daniel Rouncefield (crew) © Derek Hall

When four members of St Ives Sailing Club spent a chilly Saturday in January at Stithians Outdoor & Active Centre on a Disability Awareness Course Run by the Royal Yachting Association's Sailability Programme, little did they know that one of them would be the first person to enjoy the benefit.

"In 2013 we bought a club dinghy suitable to introduce anyone to sailing in safety." said Simon Ashmore, the member behind the push for the club to demonstrate how inclusive it really is. "The Sailability course was the next step in learning how to make our sport more accessible to people of all abilities - a major challenge for a club as small as ours."

Then in March, before the season began, Simon tore his Achilles tendon. "Two months on crutches and 23 weeks in an orthopaedic boot has been a real eye opener for me as I've never had an injury before. But I was determined to test our ability to get me back onto the water as soon as I could, without jeopardising what is proving a long drawn out recovery."

On Saturday 23rd August the conditions were right for that to happen and, with fellow Sailability trainee Graeme Sennen at the helm, club dinghy Redemption had its first disabled crew member. "It was great to be able to put what we learnt on the course into practice," said Graeme, "and with a little coordination between Safety Boat Helm Dave Peters (a member for 30 years but himself registered disabled and asthmatic) and Race Officer Stuart Backhouse, we got Simon on board comfortably."

Club Commodore John Palser said: "Along with our friends at Mylor and Stithians RYA Sailing Schools who were also on the course, we would be delighted to help anyone who lives in or near St Ives & wants to give sailing a try to do so."

"6 months off the water in any way has already been far too long for me, but if you've never tried it you may not know what you're missing - come along and let us help you to get out there." said Simon.

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