I felt better being close to nature and in the elements
It felt good to be part of a group activity again in a way I could manage
"During the last session I sailed out into the middle of Cardiff Bay, next to a flock of seagulls on the sea. The sun shone and the boat rocked gently in the breeze, I felt a moment of great contentment. I enjoyed the gusts of wind catching the sails propelling the boat speedily forwards".
As Juliette reflects on her joy of being on the water with Cardiff Bay Sailability she also remembers her love of outdoor activities stopped abruptly in 1995 when she developed myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME / CFS). As a teenager J
was concerned she wouldn’t be able to manage the physicality of sailing, as she has muscle pain, nausea, fatigue and post-exertional malaise. "It’s a very fine line of balancing rest and activity with ME/CFS and I was worried I may overstep it.”
"In an initial telephone chat, the organiser allayed some of my concerns, explaining that the Hansa 303s are easy to sail, and that volunteers could accompany me if I wished." Juliette says the prior chat with the organiser gave her the confidence to try it alone. "It was a steep learning curve remembering how to sail, particularly with my cognitive fatigue, aka brain fog. But the Hansa 303 was great to sail for me - I could sit in one place, with a seat supporting my back, using a joystick rather than a tiller and didn’t have to manoeuvre about.” Juliette says she took a lot of confidence from the stability of the Hansa.
More than anything, Juliette reflects “It was fantastic taking part in an activity again that I loved. I enjoyed talking with the other participants. We all had different circumstances but with help we were able to sail together. It felt good to be part of a group activity again in a way I could manage.”
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Sailing is open to everyone. Regardless of age or ability, it’s a level playing field out on the water and the opportunities to get involved are ever evolving. Find out about some of the boats involved