Why do people like sailing?

Sailing is a fun and exciting activity with opportunities to meet a lot of interesting people and visit new places.

Imagine the possibilities! Visit new destinations, meet new people, learn new skills, compete in a race, enjoy a cocktail. There’s something for everybody.

I’m blind or partially sighted can I still go sailing?

Yes, this is why we are here after all. Sailing is a wonderful and fully accessible sport for blind people. In fact there are blind sailing programs and clubs all over the world. There are national and international sailing regattas and competitions specifically for blind sailors. There is a large and engaged community of people around blind sailing.

Is Canadian Blind Ablesail recognized by Sail Canada?

Yes, we are registered with Sail Canada and Ontario Sailing  We are members in good standing and fully recognized as an Ablesail program for the blind.

I’m a sighted skipper or volunteer, what do I need to know to work with blind sailors?

This question is best answered with a conversation rather than words on a web-site. This is one of the most frequent questions we get. Mostly it is common sense type stuff. Please give us a call, 416-900-7569, or send us a message, info@blindablesail.ca, anytime. We will tell you what you need to know and answer all your questions.

Why would I go sailing with Canadian Blind Ablesail?

As blind sailors ourselves, we have experienced what sailing can do for self respect and confidence. We have walked in your shoes and understand the challenges of vision loss so can relate. We offer an engaging and supportive environment with an opportunity to learn helpful skills, have some fun and meet new and interesting people.

My local yacht club or sailing school would like to know more about helping blind people go sailing, can you help us?

Yes, we would be pleased to assist you. Helping to get people out on the water is all part of what we do. Call us any time and let us know what you need.

Do guide dogs go sailing?

The safety of our four-legged friends is of paramount importance. We have consulted widely with guide dog instructors, the CNIB and experienced sailors with guide dogs, we feel a sailboat is not a safe environment for a guide dog. We encourage arrangements be made to have the dog looked after on-shore when out sailing.

Do I need to allow Guide dogs on my personal boat?

As a private boat owner you are under no obligation to allow a guide dog on board. Although guide dogs have many rights for access to public spaces such as restaurants these rights do not extend to private spaces such as your personal water craft. Also, remember we don’t really support having guide dogs on board. We feel it is not a safe environment for them.

Does my Yacht Club or sailing program need to install ramps or special equipment for a blind person to go sailing?

No, a person who is blind does not require special equipment, ramps or other modifications. Some simple sighted assistance and some well proven techniques for walking on narrow docks and boarding are all that is required. Mostly all that is needed is a little common sense and you are good to go.

I would like to set up a blind sailing program at our marina / yacht club. What do I need to know?

Call Us, 416-900-7569. We are happy to work with you on such an initiative. Likely it’s simpler than you think.

Do I need to know how to swim?

No, knowing how to swim is not necessary. When sailing with us, we require everyone to wear a life jacket. We recommend everyone wears a lifejacket when on any boat regardless of sailing experience or swimming ability.

Do I need to be physically fit to go sailing?

It really depends on the type of sailing. Generally speaking you will need to be able to move around on the boat and balance yourself when the boat is moving through the water. Think of what it is like standing or changing seats on a moving bus, being on a boat is kind of like that only a whole lot more fun. If you can climb a small ladder and/or hop a three foot fence and walk up a flight of stairs you should be good to go.

Do I already have to know how to sail?

Everyone starts out as a newbie, so no prior experience is needed. We encourage people to have experienced several short sails before trying an overnight or extended sail.

Am I too old for sailing?

Likely not. Sailing is great at any age.

What is the minimum age for children?

People under 16 years of age can sail with CBA when accompanied by a parent or guardian,

What should I bring?

Be prepared as you would for any outdoor activity such as a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water etc. It can be cooler out on the water so having a light jacket is always a good idea. We always suggest if you are unsure about what to bring then ask your skipper or an experienced sailor before heading out.

What about seasickness?

Some people, even experienced sailors may experience symptoms of seasickness from time-to-time. This is not unusual and often quickly passes. Taking Gravol or other motion sickness products prior to heading out on the water can help. If you are not feeling well while out on the boat, talk to your skipper who will provide guidance.

What about bad weather?

It depends. The skipper will use her/his experience to decide on the safety of the sail outing based on the experience of the people on board. Typically speaking in unfavourable conditions, people will not head out for a sail.

Have another question?

We are here to help. Please email us at info@blindablesail.ca or call us at 416‑900‑7569.

You can write Canadian Blind Ablesail
17 Boustead Ave
Toronto, Ontario
M6R 1Y7, Canada