Skipper finds sea leg on Bali trip

Graeme Martin and Sailabilty WA co-ordinator Ann Hodgkinson on the bow of Bella Vista
Graeme Martin and Sailabilty WA co-ordinator Ann Hodgkinson on the bow of Bella Vista

‘We don’t need money, we just need people,’ Sailability WA President Graeme Martin (64) said.

Bella Vista was donated by club member Reg Willis earlier this year and is the biggest vessel for the disabled to learn and experience sailing in Sailability WA’s fleet of three small yachts and eight self-righting dinghies.

Mr Martin lost his lower left leg in a firefighting accident in 1995, after which he committed himself to sailing as therapy and a challenge.

Last week, he returned from a two-month, 11,000km cruise skippering his own 40-footer, Sand Crab’s Disco, to Bali and through the Indonesian islands with five crew and using a new $13,000 artificial leg built for life on deck, and his old leg for times ashore.

‘The new leg went good, with no real problems apart from being a bit long, but the old one fell to pieces and had to be held together with gaffer tape,’ Mr Martin said.

This week, he will travel to Sydney to the National Sailability Conference to discuss sailing for the disabled.

Sailiability WA also wants to get Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans on the water as sailors or instructors.

‘I know there’s at least 800 of them out there,’ Mr Martin said.

Call 9423 5526.