Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Nepean Sailing Club - 1st Annual Women’s ABLE Sail Clinic
The Nepean Sailing Club ABLE Sail Program’s 1st Annual Women’s Able Sail Clinic took place on Saturday, August 20th. Led by NSC Able Sail coaches Jenny Davey and Caroline Neasmith, the clinic brought together 7 sailors with disabilities and 6 volunteer companions, all women, for a day of learning and sharing. Martin 16 sailors of varying experience - some currently in Learn To Sail classes, some with several seasons of racing under their belts – and a variety of new volunteers, many from the Nepean Sailing Club/Britannia Yacht Club Women’s keelboat fleet, enthusiastically came together for a day devoted to developing women’s sailing.
The day began with some introductions and shared stories, then a briefing on the morning’s focus of boat handling and mark roundings. Puffy light winds and weeds provided more than a few challenges, but all participants worked hard to maximize their time on the water and arrived at the dock for a lunch break with smiles. 
Plans to work on starting skills were stormed out when a powerful system rolled through bringing heavy rain and high winds, so a theory session on the deck replaced the on water plans. Both sailors and volunteers alike learned from each other. Topics discussed included boat speed tips, racing tactics, disability-specific adaptations, Martin 16 class rules, companioning guidelines as well as some of the logistics sailors with disabilities must consider when preparing to learn, train and race such as using adaptive transportation and finding accessible accommodation at out of town regattas.
Many new connections were made amongst a diverse group of women of different ages, backgrounds and experience. The day ended with a shared meal and a sense of commitment to further develop the initiative.
The organizers would like to thank the National Capital Adaptive Sail Association, the Ontario Sailing Association, the NSC/BYC Women’s Keelboat Fleet, and the CYA for the support provided to get this inaugural event off the ground.
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