I had two invites early on in the year to be taken out on the water to go sailing. The first was from one of the photographers who covers the FIA European Drag Racing Championships, Stefan Boman. Just as I announced the 50 list on Facebook Stefan invited me over to Sweden to go out on his sailing boat, a very cool looking catamaran that certainly would have been a great thrill ride. This was such a generous offer and one that I was very tempted to accept but redundancy money wouldn’t last long if I had gone.
The other invite was from an old friend of mine, Mike Beckett. He has been sailing most of his life and his invite was very appealing, to be taken out on a a similar catamaran but dates clashed and in the end I decided that should anyone want to go sailing for the first time and were in the same situation as me, a wheelchair user, I should find a more suitable experience. So, close to where I live is Northamptonshire Sailability. They have sailing boats that are accessible, in that in most sailing boats or dinghies you have to move around quite a bit, in these you don’t. They also have a hoist to get you into and out of the boat.
I was taken out by Roy Child, the chairman, and despite the lack of a strong wind that would have given us the speed, I did have a good time. I learnt a lot about how to read the water, setting the sails and how to keep the boat going even when there is very little wind.