Charity Number 1113330

Patron – The Rt. Hon Miss Ann Widdecombe PC DSG



The Disabled Sailing Association is a Torquay-based sailing charity, run for the disabled, by the disabled.

Our aim is, wherever possible,  to give everybody, no matter what their disability, the opportunity to enjoy the experience of seagoing sailing in a safe and pleasurable environment, and to encourage them to be involved in an activity that many believe they are excluded from. 


Our objective is to provide the fun and freedom of sailing at sea on one of our specially modified, modern sailing yachts for all disabled people, their family and carers.

Our trips range from  local cruising of about three to four hours around Torbay, up to longer coastal and cross-channel passages, including overnight stays aboard for the more adventurous.

In our 2018 summer season from April to September ‘Free Spirit’  undertook over a hundred and ten trips carrying nearly four hundred disabled members.

We utilise RYA qualified volunteer skippers and crew, all with DBS clearance who are experienced in working with our disabled members and who encourage them to participate as fully as possible in the seagoing sailing experience.

We encourage and support, when funding and grants permit, our disabled members and volunteers to take relevant RYA training courses through our in-house RYA registered training centre. Several disabled members have already participated in this scheme up to RYA ‘Day Skipper’ level.


The Disabled Sailing Association (DSA) is an ‘RYA Sailability’ affiliated and approved organisation. We were  established as a charity in 2005 by six disabled people who loved sailing at sea and wished to encourage and provide the opportunity to others with a disability to enjoy sailing.

We are a non-profit making organisation, fully reliant on external funding, donations and voluntary contributions. Today, individual  membership stands at over two hundred, excluding the care centres, rehabilitation centres, respite and day centres who use our facilities regularly.

We have been able to provide  sailing for all ages from 4 to 104 (!) years and through the whole range of disabilities which include blind, deaf blind, learning difficulties, chronic illness and people who are confined to their wheelchairs.

Both our current boats fully comply with the required RNLI sea safety checks and recommendations and are specially adapted for people with a range of disabilities. Wheelchair access is provided via a specially designed ramp makes them accessible for those who have very limited mobility.

Enjoying the fun and freedom of being at sea, handling the boat and the social company of working together in a small team builds confidence, friendships and social skills. As an outdoor activity it promotes a healthier lifestyle and freedom from the usual four walls.

Sailing is a great tradition in Torbay and until the DSA came on the scene many of our disabled members felt excluded from this great activity. Our boats are in a prominent position in the harbour and they are regularly seen by the local community and visitors to Torbay allowing them to see for themselves the ability, and not the disability, of our members.

Recent donations from Waitrose store’s customers..

The DSA were very pleased recently to have collected a cheque from Waitrose, Torquay for the sum of £434.00. In the photo, left to right, Bev and Dave with PJ the dog, receiving the cheque from Waitrose representative. 'Thanks to everyone who put the tokens in our...

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Raise money for DSA at Tesco

From the 1st March to the 29 April the Tesco stores below have DSA as one of their charities. When you shop please collect tokens at the checkout (as many as you can) and put them in the pot for DSA. The more we score the more money we get! Please help raise money for...

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DSA’s First Car Boot Sale

DSA’s First Car Boot Sale

On a bright freezing cold Sunday in January, two of our members braved the elements and raised £42.00. They returned with more items than they took!! - kindly donated by other car boot people. More car boot sales will take place during the year.

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    HELPERS NEEDED! The Disabled Sailing Association will be the principle organisation providing Try sail experiences for visitors to the Figaro sailing event in Torquay from the 17th - 21st June. Its anticipated that there will be many thousands of people coming to...

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David Musgrove at No 10

Kevin Forster was pleased to be able to arrange for Sue Newman (Rowcroft Hospice) & Dave Musgrove (Disabled Sailing Association) to meet Samantha Cameron at Number 10...

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Latest News of the new ‘FREEDOM’……..

Our new boat 'Freedom' finally arrived in her home port of Torquay on a damp and windy 28th September 2018. She was commissioned on the 10th of November by Victoria Graham from BBC's SPOTLIGHT.

Picture courtesy of Ray

Since then Skippers and Mates have been undergoing Familiarisation training sessions to make sure everybody is ready for the new guests season in spring 2019! Pictures and an 'on-board' account of the sail down from Portsmouth here