Letters from Trilleen – 1

A personal letter from Ian and the Sailing Trilleen project

Intentions for the rest of September are to take Trilleen west out of the Solent to make some longer passages, although what happens is as always bound by time and tide. I’m really pleased to be joined by my Mum who seems surprisingly excited to get back on a boat. Being double-handed will enable Trilleen to sail longer legs as I’m still working on optimising her layout for solo work.

Looking back my first Cowes Week was an exhilarating and exhausting experience. I was very grateful to be crewing this week – the pandemic year has been massively disruptive to training and while I’m grateful to Matt Grier for his trust on quiet evening racing nights, the chaos with five or six keelboat classes competing for space round the starts during Cowes Week was frankly disorientating. The regatta reminds me very much of some endurance orienteering events I’ve participated in. Crossing the finish line you swear never to compete again. But a few hours later things start to feel different. At

As I write I’m preparing to reclaim her from the yard where she is having her heating fitted. Disabled people have different needs for adaptions in boats just as they do in any other environment. It’s a matter of addressing and bypassing impairments as efficiently as possible. In my case having hot water and heating are a vital part of being able to do the medical procedures which keep me functioning.

The passage to take Trilleen to the yard for this heating work was a frustration. The recent spell of North Easterly wind was well set in and carrying her on a broad reach down the Western Solent with a gentle motion at hull speed. The temptation to allow the boat her head and to let the wind carry me down channel was very great.

Sailing Trilleen is helping me return to better health and increased productivity. The Andrew Cassell Foundation through providing access to sail racing for disabled people motivated me and equipped me to start out on the sailing rehabilitation journey that I’m on. I know that they are able to take more people along the same pathway that I’m now on, and that’s one of the reasons I support them so strongly.

The lack of wholistic and accessible rehabilitation programmes is a running sore in our health and social care system. It isn’t so much talked about because the overall crisis in social care is so large in the UK, but especially for the very many working age folk who need prolonged health or social care their absence traps people in anti-therapeutic situations, without access to support that could help with recovery, hope and a possibility of a future.

Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Foundation.

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Andrew Cassell Foundation (Racing for the Disabled) is a Charity in England and Wales: 1057742

Supports people with disabilities (mainly physical & sensory) to take part in yacht racing and cruising and to encourage the integration of sailors with disabilities with able bodied sailors