1st Lazarus Union Handicapped Sail Cruise (September 2012)
This unforgettable initiative was organised for the first time by the Union CSLI led by the indomitable Commander Wolfgang Steinhardt. The preparations and the flight to Split in Croatia went without any complications although it was the first flight for several participants. Austrian Airlines was perfect in handling all wheelchair issues and we explicitly want to express our thanks to them. Extra shuttle services from the gate to the plane made boarding and disembarking almost effortless in Vienna as well as in Split.
Problems commenced at the marina where we were to take over our ships. The large boat we had rented especially for the participants with wheelchairs was not available as it was totalled two days before our arrival and a comparable one was not available.
Only with a lot of trouble and support from our chartering company a comparable vessel could be organized which unfortunately offered only eight instead of twelve beds in four bunks. But the crew lists had already been submitted to the authorities and so we could not make new arrangements.
It was also planned to have this ship run by a specially hired crew also assisting with supporting the handicapped people at sea. But because of the reduced number of beds this was not possible. Fortunately the second skipper agreed to forgo his bunk, instead sleeping on deck or in the living room and also to operate the vessel all on his own.
It was obvious that this would provide for a lot of trouble and work but the only alternative would have been to send home all people from the second ship. Of course everyone was informed on the new situation but all wanted to proceed to sea as quickly as possible.
It was also obvious that such a change in planning of this event would mean a change in the constant care of wheelchair bound guests of the Union CSLI. The problem was solved in such a way that one experienced aide assisted on the smaller vessel during daytime, only changing ship for the night. So also for the handicapped people a safe stay on deck was possible, five aids were supporting four handicapped passengers. Still the originally good atmosphere did not come back again as the criticism was held up despite these measure.
The team was able to perform many unique activities and the whole trip was finished without any incident or accident and even without the slightest injury. You will learn more about these trips in the oncoming report which will also be accompanied by lots of pictures.
Finally a big thank you to all CSLI members who helped making this trip possible. Especially to Christoph Ptak who as highest ranking "not-nautical" CSLI officer aided much with his unshakable calm attitude to avoid any real escalation and so made it possible for all to have some fun and enjoy this cruise. For all participants this was a real adventure with lots of new experiences!
This cruise was scheduled from September 22nd to 29th, 2012, using two modern 15m long Beneteau vessels equipped with a single mast each. Both were to be equipped with roller furling devices and bow thrusters as well as modern navigational systems (chart plotters, true wind indicator, logger, echo sounding, and radio). They were both to provide more than six cabins with 11 bunks, large diesel and water tanks, several toilets and showers, as well as heated outdoor showers.
Our crews were to expect a smooth cruise in not too bad weather. They consisted of sailing enthusiasts who were partly handicapped, some heavily like myself with a 100% reduced motor skill handicap but some long although rusty sailing experience which provided to be helpful later, but there were also two experienced skippers and two deck hands.