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Disabled sailing: Free as a bird!

May 2010

Are you looking for a thrilling experience adapted for your child? An adventure that your child will never forget?

Since 1996, the Association Québécoise de Voile Adaptée (AQVA) has been offering sailors with motor impairments the chance to discover the pleasure of sailing! AQVA’s mission is to “enable people with mobility impairments, including very severe ones, to increase their quality of life and to reintegrate into the community by means of sailing” (taken from the AQVA web site).

For a reasonable cost of $15 for an on-water session, AQVA provides a sailboat that is fully adapted to its sailor and impossible to capsize thanks to a 330-lb keel. Sailors who are unable to manually steer the boat can use a joystick or a “sip n’ puff”, a motorized straw-like mechanism that allows sailors to steer the boat by blowing into it. When out on the water, sailors are accompanied by a volunteer or instructor to ensure everyone’s safety. First-time sailors must undergo an evaluation with an occupational therapist in order to prepare the equipment that is needed to safely transfer sailors in and out of the boat as well as to ensure that they are properly positioned and comfortable in the cockpit.

Sailing lessons are given at the Pointe-Claire Yacht Club along Lake St-Louis. You can also practice adapted sailing at Centre Nautique du Petit Lac Magog and in Carleton-sur-Mer at ÉcoVoile-Baie-des-Chaleurs. At the Pointe-Claire Yacht Club, AQVA welcomes young children and adults with physical or motor impairments as well as individuals with multiple disabilities. Sailing lessons last an hour and a half and include 15 minutes before and after each session to give sailors the time to transfer in and out of the sailboat. Lessons begin in May and run until August, depending on the temperatures and water levels.

Offer your child a very enjoyable and safe experience!

For more information, contact AQVA at 514 694-8021, or visit them on line at https://aqva.org/

Visit the AQVA website or Facebook page for more information and videos!

You can also visit the following web pages to view live videos of AQVA’s “disabled sailing”.



Julie Rinfret-Raynor, MSS., TSP
Rehabilitation in school environments
École Jean Piaget of the CHU Sainte-Justine
Phone: 450 662-7000 ext. 5433

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Updated on 7/31/2020
Created on 1/19/2015
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