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No Barriers

4: Getting kids afloat

The Ellen MacArthur Trust provides sailing opportunities for children with cancer, leukemia and other life-threatening illnesses. The trust’s primary activity is sailing for four-day periods on 38-45ft cruising yachts, staying at a different port each night, with children and crew living and sleeping on board.

‘I face challenges out on the water, but these are challenges that I choose to do,’ says Ellen. ‘They on the other hand don’t have this luxury. They battle against something harder than many of us could ever imagine and they do it with the biggest smiles on their faces. To me they are truly inspirational… Sailing is perfect for these children — it gives them a chance to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment.’

‘This was a fantastic opportunity for Fran [aged 13] …beyond her wildest dreams,’ her mum says. ‘She came back more mature, more understanding, more confident and more prepared to socialise with those in a similar position.’ The trust also runs dinghy sailing courses, as well as opportunities to race at Cowes Week and in the Round the Island Race.

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There is well-established provision for blind sailors, dating back more than 30 years

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