This is about who we are and what we stand for

The Sailing for Everyone Foundation Inc is the not for profit association behind the Hansa Sailing philosophy with the mission to promote the movement towards inclusion. The Hansa Sailing products are of Universal Design, Hansa Sailing Class Association and events are open to everyone, while clubs and programs which use Hansa sailboats are encouraged to be inclusive.

Hansa Sailing is a family including businesses, owners associations, and the clubs and programs. The Sailing For Everyone Foundation’s role is to represent and articulate the inclusive aspirations of this family. Inclusion adds value not only for us, but the whole community. Universal Design and Inclusion are what makes us unique, and we need to keep this social agenda close to the forefront in everything we do.

The principal difference between HANSA and other boat builders/designers is we build sailboats of Universal design, which means they can be sailed by anyone. We began as Access Dinghy Sailing Systems, which changed to Access Sailing Systems when it became an issue that we built mini keelboats rather than off the beach dinghies. Then as our story evolved the word Access became an issue as Access may correctly imply easy access to the sport of sailing, but it also led to a focus on disability and segregation, whereas we wanted to emphasise what we see as most important, and that is inclusion. Inclusion is a complex issue, with physical access being only one of the prerequisites. Another is presuming you have access, what do you do when you get there, does it actually work for you. But most importantly, inclusion requires you are made to feel welcome, and treated with dignity. Inclusion is therefore a 3 dimensional social compact, and is a measure of a compassionate society, while Universal Design is the framework around which you can build the inclusive environment.

Universal Design is the design philosophy which leads to the creation of environments which can be used by everyone, across their entire lifespans. It is not only the physical, but it also includes soft infrastructure which in our world are the sailing programs which need to create the welcoming and friendly social environmental which encourages the involvement of everyone.

So Inclusion and Universal design go hand in hand, and it is probably true to say that the more emphasis on Universal Design the more inclusive will be the environment. In short, if your facilities are truly universal you don’t have to adapt anything.

Disability is usually considered an oddity, but with a change in attitude its easy to see its really an aspect of the normal progression through life. Some people are born with a disability, others join the club along the way, while everyone else joins as they approach the end. It’s the only club that anyone can join in an instant. People with a disability are people first, who like most would prefer to be simply included in everyday activities, like “normal” people. Unfortunately they rarely can as architects design facilities with obstacles in the way, and this creates the handicap, while politicians, bureaucrats and other well meaning people implement their policies which entrench the segregation. You can sum that up with the saying: “God created disability, but handicap and segregation are manmade”. That may be the norm for the general community, but that doesn’t mean we all have to do it this way.