Disabled guest


Hi, again gang,
Different kind of problem this time. I have a 90 year old uncle who had polio as a kid, did pretty well for most of his life despite some weakness in his legs, and has deteriorated a lot over the last 10+ years due to post polio syndrome. His mind is very sharp. He is an absolute NUT about boats and the water and has gushed ever since he found out about my new SM. My aunt tells me he's more animated and excited than she's seen him in a long time.

I want to take him for a sail in the Chesapeake this Summer for at least a day, hopefully more. His son is willing to come along to help, but isn't a sailor. I'm hoping someone else has tackled the problem of getting on and off the boat, and up and down the companionway, and over bulkheads to get to the head and stateroom. He lives in WA state, so I haven't observed him myself, but it sounds like he's able to get onto and off a motorized "scooter" type wheelchair, but not able to walk more than a few steps.

I feel like I can get him on and off the dock using a halyard and bosun's chair, and maybe up and down the companionway using the extra halyard on the mizzen. Getting around in the boat may be an even bigger problem with the cabin sole moving all the time and not much room for one of us to be at his side. I'm sending pics of the boat and have encouraged him to talk to his rehab doc and/or therapist for some evaluation and maybe a mockup "boat" for him to see how he does.

Does anyone have any experience with disabled people aboard? Are there any sailing programs for disabled folks like there are for snow skiing and many other activities? Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
"Kristy" SM243

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