The Disabled Sailing Association has two boats in active service, both berthed at the Town Dock, Torquay harbour.
‘Free Spirit’ – New April 2015
‘Free Spirit’ was purchased following two years of fundraising by our members, with an added boost from ITV Big Lottery People’s Millions.
She is a brand new A class Hanse 345 capable of crossing the Atlantic (if we really wanted to). She is also adapted for disabled use by the addition of a swim platform at the stern that allows less mobile people and wheelchairs to get on the boat easily. She has twin steering wheels so that a disabled guest can steer under the supervision of a volunteer crew member. Again she also has extra grab rails in the cabin and fittings on the deck for wheelchair clamps.
Her name ‘Free Spirit’ was chosen by our members to express how they feel when sailing with us. She was named on July 11th 2015 by our new patron Rt. Hon. Ann Widdecombe.
‘Freedom’ – New 2018
was purchased following the sale of the original ‘Freedom’ and extensive fundraising by our members. Her name ‘Freedom’ was chosen to reflect the excellent service her predecessor gave the DSA. She was named at a commissioning ceremony on October 10th 2018 by the BBC ‘Spotlight’ presenter Victoria Graham. Unfortunately the weather was too poor for a celebration sail for all the honoured guests!
‘Freedom’ is a brand new A class Beneteau ‘Oceanis’ 38.1. She is noticeably bigger and offers increased cockpit space for the guests and crew as well as more spacious below decks . Like ‘Free Spirit’ she has a swim platform at the stern allowing less mobile people get on the boat more easily. Unlike her predecessor has twin steering wheels with space between for wheelchair . She again has extra grab rails in the cabin and fittings on the deck for wheelchair clamps.
The original ‘Freedom’
The first ‘Freedom’ – sold 2018, was new to the DSA in April 2008 was a brand new A class Hanse 350.She was purchased with a win of £96,000 from ITV Big Lottery People’s Millions Competition, the public voted for us and we won! A lot of research went in to choosing the right boat that could be adapted for disabled people, including a visit to the London boat show. Freedom was chosen for her large cockpit and interior design,
When she arrived in Southampton, disabled members visited her to decide on the extra adaptions she needed. Handrails were fitted (these are now added as standard to Hanse boats) and a contrast colour scheme for interior design was chosen for our visually impaired members. Wheelchair clamp rails were fitted in the cockpit and a removable seat constructed at the stern for ease of access from the dock.
Her name ‘Freedom’ was unanimously chosen by our members, she was named on October 2nd 2008 by HRH Princess Anne.
Previous DSA vessels included ‘Sainte Foy’ (26ft Westerly Centaur) and Moonshine (20ft Hurley). Both now sold, but both will always be remembered.