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Adaptive Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay

Updated: Apr 25

On September 29, I woke up eagerly because I was going sailing with my family, and not just any kind of sailing, adaptive sailing. The event was through Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) in Annapolis and organized by Kids in Action, which is an adaptive sports and social activities program for children and young adults with disabilities and their siblings.

When we arrived at CRAB’s sailing club in Annapolis, the organizer of the event met us and gave my sister and me arts and crafts goodie bags. It was a chilly and cloudy day, but we

celine and son before sailing

were told that cloudy days were best for sailing. We had to put on life jackets to keep us safe in case of an emergency and because it was a little windy on the bay. The skippers told me that I could steer the boat which made me very excited! I had never steered a boat before!

During the motorization of the boat, we saw some military boats and were told how CRAB

was founded. CRAB was founded by Don Backe, an avid sailor, who was paralyzed in a car accident as an adult. With the help of his wife, friends, and supporters, Don started CRAB to share the experience of sailing with everybody! CRAB runs free sails for families with loved ones with disabilities one Thursday and one Sunday of every month, but I think they’re only open between April and October.


celine husband and son on boat

The boat had a special seat for me with a chest strap and seat belt. Each boat fits 4 family members and 2 skippers. When it was finally time for me to steer the boat, I found out that steering wasn’t so hard!

The skippers told us that every year in Annapolis, there’s a contest during the holidays where lots of boats race and they’re all decorated for Christmas.

While steering, a wave came under the boat and it was so much fun! The skippers told me that this type of wave is known as a “rock and roll.”

When I wasn’t steering the sailboat, I enjoyed some snacks and the beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. Each member of my family got to steer the boat. We saw the other sailing boats every few minutes as well.

While traveling back to the dock, another “rock and roll” wave came by! Our boat was the last one to return to the dock. I couldn’t believe it, this was the best experience ever!

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