Sailing for people with physical disabilities got its start in Canada in 1989 when Sam Sullivan used a British-made Sunbird dinghy to launch the first few sails at the Jericho Sailing Centre on English Bay.
The original Sunbird had been presented to Rick Hansen by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during Expo ’86 in Vancouver to mark the end of his ‘Man in Motion’ world tour.
During that first summer, sailors with tetraplegia, paraplegia and other significant physical disabilities logged a total of 22 sails.
Today, ASABC operates eight specially designed Martin 16 sailboats and provides an average of 1,000+ sails each (non-COVID) year. To meet the increased demand for ASABC programs, we are looking to add a new boat to the fleet with the help of our friend Tim Slater, commodore at the False Creek Yacht Club. Tim and his crew successfully sailed a beautifully restored Baltic 38DP in the Victoria to Maui Yacht Race, raising funds and awareness for ASABC and the Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue.
The Martin 16 sailboat is designed specifically to be accessible for all levels of ability, with use of either a joystick controls or sip and puff technology. Participants range from novices to experienced racers who advance to join the Race Club, representing ASABC in local regattas and national competitions.
Our vision is to empower people with physical disabilities to re-imagine what is possible. Sailing provides an opportunity to do just that. Whether you are coming out for a relaxing sail to enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful views of the city from English Bay, or you’re training with our crew as part of the Race Club, we welcome you to join our ASABC sailing community. Book a sail now.
It’s official – we have changed our name to the Adaptive Sailing Association of British Columbia (ASABC)!
A huge thanks to all of you who responded to our rebranding survey. We have taken all your thoughts into consideration and believe our new logo will help represent the sense of freedom, joy and empowerment many of you have associated with our sailing program.
Following the shape of the Yin Yang symbol (representing harmony, adaptability and change), the ASABC logo’s waves move through the bottom and maintain balance with the sun; a symbol of life, power, strength, energy, force, clarity, and self. To maintain flow through the logo, a sail boat is at the top of the waves and surpasses the sun to represent that possibilities are endless and goals can be reached no matter how high.