From Sylvia

“My First Sailboat adventure

Yesterday, Aug 2, was my first time ever to experience sailing. We did not start out from the dock with sails up, but rather we engined out to “sea” by the little motor at the back of our 23 ft boat. When out at “sea”, the engine was cut and as the wind was up, only the little sail was raised.

It was impressive to see how quickly we moved along just by wind power and with such a small sail up. Also it was interesting to see how the boat was steered and how the sail was manoeuvred to catch the wind properly.

When the wind died down enough, it was time to put up the big sail. We inexperienced ones got to help by managing the ropes while the sail went up. Then we were really sailing and experiencing more of sailboat life!

When our boat leaned quite sharply to one side I was put at ease when I heard the Coordinator, Tracy, say “This boat is not going to tip”. Tracy and Caitlin rushed to sit themselves on the opposite side of the boat to give more weight there and our bit of excitement was over. I was amazed to see how simply the big sail could be controlled as the wind changed and the students, Caitlin and Ben worked together to turn the boat.

I learned a lot and I had so much fun that I plan to go sailing again next Tuesday Aug.9. We are very fortunate to have the disabled sailing program in Kelowna with a dedicated Coordinator, summer students and volunteers who make our outings on the lake a wonderful experience.

I look forward to seeing what kind of experience I will have then!”

From Catrina Ward

“I am writing to say I wish to suggest memorial donations be given to DSA…”  “We are beyond grateful for the joy DSA provided Roy in being able to sail in his condition for four wonderful summers.

With our very deep thanks to you personally, the volunteers, and the whole association for enriching so many of our lives in this city!”

From Karen Engel

“Thank you SO MUCH for making a way for me to go sailing today. It was absolutely wonderful and my “coach” was so kind and helpful.  I am looking forward to doing more of this next summer!  I will have to find out more and sign up. Bless you for providing this opportunity for those of us who can’t easily get out on the water on our own.”

From Denise Sanders:

Denise and BussonMy guide dog, Busson, and I have worked together for five years.  The time has flown by, however, we have been on many wonderful adventures together.  This summer, we were up for an adventure on the Sonar, a 23 foot sail boat with an approximate 30 ft mast, on Okanagan Lake.  With Bussie, as I call her, by my side, I never feel alone when we are striking out on these adventures.

A friend, Bill, Busson and I met the Director, Tracy, and her Assistant, Nick, on the dock then boarded the boat for our fantastic cruise.  Tracy and Nick were very helpful and allowed us to pull on the ropes to change the shape of the sails.  At one point, we were heading north with the breeze in our face and reached a speed of approximately 5 knots or 9 kms an hour.

As usual, my mechanical mind had many questions regarding the operation of the boat and they both gave very clear explanations.  Tracy is going to try and arrange for us to inspect a model sail boat so we can develop a comprehensive diagram in our minds.

Busson was apprehensive to get in, however, once she was able to get settled, she was relaxed on the boat, wagging her tail and making friends with Nick.

We are fortunate to have a very successful Disabled Sailing Association in Kelowna (DSA) for persons with disabilities.  Thanks to compassionate folks like Tracy and Nick, we are able to have these memorable experiences.  I am going to encourage my friends to try this interesting activity as Busson and I plan to go sailing again next year.