What Disability?

Hello there

We are Dan and Cat and we have recently become new members of Carsington Sailing Club (CSC).

We are a husband and wife team with a “hidden” disability – we are both profoundly deaf. That means that whilst out on the water, we cannot hear a thing – not even if anyone was shouting at us for the right of way. Or even a plane flying directly overhead!

Whereas on dry land, we wear our cochlear implants which help us to hear, and we also use lip-reading to communicate with everybody; sadly, due to the wet nature of sailing and the fact that technology hasn’t quite got there in making waterproof implants, we have to rely solely on lip-reading when we are on the water.

You may find the following helpful:

  • We are good at lip-reading as long as we are able to see your face in a good lighting condition.
  • You can just speak naturally with natural facial expressions and gestures.
    We know that this can be tricky out on the water if we are far apart.
  • Also sometimes we just need to know what the topic of conversation is about to make a sense of it.
  • We don’t mean to be rude if we appear to be ignoring you, sometimes we don’t realise a conversation has been started, especially when outside launching the boat or in the changing room.
  • We don’t use British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate. Dan doesn’t have a clue on how to use it but Cat knows a fair bit if anyone wants to put their BSL into practice!

How did we become new members of CSC?
Well it was one sunny day in late May that we were strolling around Carsington Water after having just returned from our honeymoon, feeling all refreshed and relaxed from the hectic months of wedding planning, moving house and changing jobs. We felt envious seeing all the sailors having an exhilarating time on the water and we realised that we wanted a new shared exciting outdoor hobby. We then saw a big white sign saying that CSC was hosting an open day.

This seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to find out a bit more about the club. We plucked up our courage and were feeling just brave enough to turn up but then we were overwhelmed by the club’s excellent facilities and to be greeted by friendly club members and staff.

We have never been “formally trained” and felt that doing the RYA Combined Level 1 & 2 Training Course at CSC, would be an excellent way to get re-introduced to the sport, gain confidence and obtain qualifications. It’s also a brilliant way of meeting new people.

We did the training course over the summer and all of the instructors were absolutely fantastic working with us. We have guessed that it must have been a scary experience for them handing over the control of the rudder to us!

After passing the training course, we continued to make an extensive use of the Comet, the club’s training boat. We ultimately felt it was time to get a boat of our own and we have just purchased our first boat, a Laser 2000 dinghy. We have aptly named it as “Knot Guilty”. We have now been out many times and currently we have just started to play around with using the asymmetric spinnaker to give it a bit of a power boost.

Winter is coming up - we will devote our time to reading up and understanding the racing rules. We are hoping to join in the racing early next year as we see it as a best way of developing our sailing abilities and to add a new element of excitement! So everyone, just watch out for us - Knot Guilty here we roll on the waves!

Of course, we will obviously do our best to keep out of others’ “right of way” and only intend to be out on the water for a bit of good fun (and well perhaps to be competitive too!). If we get in anyone’s way or do something wrong without even realising, then we say our big ‘Sorry!’ in advance.

Bring it on next year! If you see us around, give us a wave or say Ahoy!

Dan and Cat Rule

Knot Guilty
Laser 2000
Sail No. 22156