Leaving dependence on the dock.

The Adaptive Watersports Program (AWP) removes traditional barriers to outdoor education faced by people with diverse needs. AWP supports individuals with cognitive or physical disabilities enabling students to realize their goals using adaptive teaching methods and specialized equipment including a 23-foot keelboat and Martin 16, which promotes participation at all levels, from assisted recreational sailing to independent racing competition. AWP provides an invaluable point of access to Lake Champlain and facilitates positive change in participants’ self-confidence, leadership, and teamwork.

In partnership with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, this program has served thousands of people with disabilities since its inception in 1997. In 2015, AWP expanded to include Special Olympics Vermont, providing competitive sail training for individuals interested in local and regional regattas.

Group Recreational Sailing

Students are encouraged to take the helm, trim the sails and learn about sailing on our custom adaptive Sonar. This boat is adapted so the skipper sits facing forward without the need to switch sides as the boat changes direction. Encircling this gimbaled seat is a horizontal steering hoop, a concept designed by Community Sailing Center founding director and architect, Marcel Beaudin. The Sonar sails with up to six people and has a heavy keel under the bottom, which makes for excellent stability. 3-hour sails are offered daily.

Private and Competitive Sailing Lessons

The goal of these lessons is to enable the students with disabilities to sail independently. The Martin 16s, single or double-handed keelboats (ballasted so as to be unable to tip over) were designed to level the playing field for people with physical disabilities to race in open fleets without a time or distance handicap.

Dates and Times: June-August, times vary

Sailboat, Kayak and Canoe Rentals

AWP offers sailboat rentals in our Adaptive Sonar and Martin 16s. Kayak and Canoe instructional lessons are also available.

Contact and Applications

To apply for a program, please contact Vermont Adaptive  at (802)353-3178, or truenorth@vermontadaptive.org.

Adaptive Watersports Programs are generously supported by Derek Schueler Fund.