The Andrew Cassell Foundation enables individuals with physical disabilities and impairments to sail competitively on an equal level playing field with and against able bodied sailors, in an inclusive and equal environment in all classes. Part of this article is downloadable as a PDF briefing explaining the foundation’s special responsibility and place in the ecosystem of disabled sailing in England and how we prevent the drain of disabled sailors from the sport.
Independent disabled sailing
The Andrew Cassell Foundation fills a unique niche in the ecosystem of British sailing. We enable people with physical disabilities to develop their sailing skills on level playing field with abled bodied sailors. The Solent provides ready access to friendly racing and this is an ideal space for our sailors to refine new skills and thrive through achievement.
All disabled sailing is good sailing
Every organisation getting disabled people on the water is doing valuable and positive work. The Andrew Cassell Foundation isn’t in competition with any other charity in the sector.
Our offer is unique: We are the only organisation in the UK that offers a pathway for disabled sailors to progress out of disabled specific sailing activity and into whatever discipline of the broader sailing world they choose. Many of our sailors’ rehabilitation journeys take massive steps forward with us and this gives them a new opportunity for direction, employment and a secure future.
Progression on the training ladder is complex for disabled sailors because of the difficulty of independent development. Many specialist providers of disabled access to sailing also only offer development to a certain level. The consequence is that there is massive attrition of disabled sailors though what we call the ’grey gaps’.
Surviving the grey gap that swallows sailors
Proportionally participating in sailing is likely to consume more of disabled people’s income than that of their abled bodied peers. That cost differential is greatly increased by the mundane costs of disability, e.g. arranging access to accommodation with suitable bathroom facilities, purchasing boat access equipment usable with their disability and the elevated costs of wheelchair accessible vehicles (which often cannot tow a boat because of the way they have been converted).
Independent progression into more serious sailing is particularly difficult for disabled sailors. The Andrew Cassell Foundation helps overcome the grey gap where sailors are lost to the sport.
A shorter version of this feature can be downloaded as a briefing pack on the unique role the Andrew Cassell Foundation plays in the English sailing ecosystem.