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A San Juan 24B, donated to DSA BC and sold

Boat donations prove good for the community

By Paul Gowan


There's providence in the sale of a boat. At least B.C.'s disabled sailing community believes there is.

With the enthusiastic support of the boating community, the Disabled Sailing Association of B.C.'s Boat Donation Program is growing into quite a success story. In less than two years, it has accepted vessels from 12 generous donors, providing valuable funds for the disabled sailing programs run by DSA BC.

Rather than wait months to sell and then potentially receive less than anticipated for a boat, owners can instead donated it to DSA. In return, they receive a tax receipt for the full appraised value of their vessel.

Boat donors have come from many different areas of the boating community. As well as being avid sports people, they have shown an interest in making it possible for sailors with disabilities to experience the delights of being on the water while, at the same time, benefiting from the potential of a generous reduction on their taxable income.

When the boat is sold, proceeds go toward DSA's sailing programs, which run June through August each summer at the Jericho Sailing Centre on English Bay. At the heart of the program is the Martin 16 sailboat, a vessel designed in Vancouver specifically for sailors with disabilities.

The Martin 16 is now regarded as the standard for sailors with disabilities the world over because it combines complete safety (unsinkable and untippable) with speed and manoeuvrability, and allows even "high" quadriplegics the opportunity to sail solo.

DSA is an independent, charitable society dedicated to enriching the lives of people with significant disabilities through leisure and competitive sailing. Using modified equipment and sailing instruction from volunteers and staff, it offers sailing opportunities for paraplegics, quadriplegics, people with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and other physical disabilities.

As people progress through training to becoming adept sailors and even racers, some then move on to instruct and motivate others with disabilities.

It has been two years since DSA launched the Boat Donation Program under the direction of former realtor Maureen DeLandreville. Working out of her North Delta home on her computer and telephone, she rarely gets to meet boat donors face-to-face, but she enjoys it nonetheless.

DeLandreville, rendered quadriplegic after an accident, is ambitious and would like to bring in several more donated boats per month. "It takes a while to get things rolling, and I think we've done well for a couple of years, but I certainly have goals for us to build it quite a bit more," she says.

Five of DSA's boat donors first got the idea of choosing to donate from seeing an ad in Pacific Yachting Magazine. PY has been extremely supportive of the Boat Donation Program, DeLandreville noted, donating regular advertising space.

World-renowned undersea expert Phil Nuytten of North Vancouver inspired one of the most recent donors to DSA. Nuytten was a keynote speaker at the Service on the Sea awards, staged by Pacific Yachting Magazine and held in Vancouver in November 2003.

DSA tends to sell donated boats quickly. Currently, there are three boats listed on the DSA website. "Once we've got it donated, we know we'll sell it … it's just a matter of time," DeLandreville says.

DeLandreville admits to being a driven person, which helps to push things along. "I like to work. I do this as a volunteer and I spend a lot of time on it. I am quite ambitious and I think there's lots of potential here to do more, and I want it to go forward."

For donated boats, DSA arranges and pays for an independent assessment from a licensed boat surveyor, as well as a mechanical inspection. If repairs are required, DSA will underwrite them as long as they are less than the potential sale price of the vessel. DSA then looks after mooring, insurance costs and brokerage.

Many of these services end up being donated as well. "All the people that support our organization with their generous donations of service are just great people to deal with, so I consider myself really lucky to be working with them," DeLandreville says.

DSA is delighted to see the program gaining strength, because it helps meet the growing needs as DSA expands the services it offers to disabled sailors.

In the summer of 2004, DSA will provide 1,000 sailing experiences to people with disabilities. That will be no mean feat and will require much effort from staff and volunteers - and a strong source of funding. All eight of DSA's Martin 16 sailboats will be busy. There will be a constant need to repair and upgrade equipment, train personnel and replace the boats as they wear out.

The spirit and generosity of boat donors goes a long way toward making this happen.

For more information on DSA's boat donation program, call Maureen DeLandreville at 604-594-7975, phone DSA at 604-688-6464 or visit www.disabilityfoundation.org/dsa.

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