Sailing is becoming a popular lifestyle activity for people with physical disabilities. There are now associations both in Sweden and internationally, focusing on the rehabilitory aspects of sailing. They are working towards a safe, easy way for people with several physical disabilities to access a naval lifestyle without compromises.
Users describe sailing as a feeling of freedom and a way to reclaim a part of life, but there are problems to face.
This project has resulted in modular sailing equipment, adapting common sailing club boats to be accessible by users with MS and spinal marrow injuries, in order to quickly integrate disabled users in clubs early in the rehabilitation process.
There has been a focus on making motivational, adaptive equipment and highlighting personal development and advancement in a rehabilitory context.
Inspiration and Method
The rehabilitation process of MS and spinal cord injuries relies on a working motivational factor. Sailing has proved to be an effective way for patients to increase motivation and rehabilitation results
The benefits of sailing in the rehabilitation process is usually described as two factors. One is the feeling of being close to the open water and nature. The other one is the feeling of speed and splash of water combined with serenity often associated with sailing, as well as cases showing physical improvement.
This project has aimed towards enhancing the Sailability experience as well as making it possible for sailing clubs to accept disabled users without having to buy new boats.
FREEDOM AT SEA resulted in modular equipment that bridges the gap between common sailing school boats and disabled users.
It explores the need for new thinking regarding para-sport equipment and how the development of these products can be be directed towards motivational, adaptive equipment and away from austere, disability aids. It opens up for new approaches regarding integrating sailors with different needs and abilities when putting a crew together.
The end result is developed to be compatible with mid-size keelboats in sailing clubs. The module is easily installed and allows disabled users immediate access and a clear learning curve, resulting in a longer lasting interest and a more efficient rehabilitation.