Potential new members are assessed for previous sailing skills and boating knowledge. Their individual special needs and equipment are recorded for the sailing programs. Membership fees are at a subsidized rate of $50 per year.

Members schedule their sailing times (usually for an hour or longer) on the website booking page or by phone and meet us on the dock at the Club. Members may usually sail once a week (Monday through Friday) and are charged $15 per sail, which is also a subsidized rate.

Many sailors are able to get in and out of the boat with minimal assistance. However, if this is not possible, sailors can be transferred using a sling and hoist. A sling is placed under the person, the straps attached to a battery-powered lift which raises them out of the wheelchair. The lift is attached to a pivoting davit which allows us to move the sailor above the seat in the boat and safely lower them into position. The same procedure is done in reverse for getting back into the wheelchair. This is a very safe transfer method which requires no manual lifting.

Able Sail Toronto has two davits and battery powered lifts with a weight rating of 500 lbs each.

For sailors who lack full use or strength of the arms or hands, a device called an "Autohelm" is easily fitted into the boat. The Autohelm has a small joystick – similar to a video game control – that can be used to steer the boat with very little effort. In addition, a windlass (winch) can also be fitted onto the boat and both sheets (the ropes that control the sails) can then also be controlled with a touch of the fingers – left or right for steering, forward or back to ease or trim sails.

The boat can be even further adapted: the Autohelm system can be controlled by an incredible, sophisticated straw system called the “sip 'n puff”. As the name indicates, instead of controlling the helm and sails with hands, the sailor uses their breath. By just inhaling or exhaling gently into the straw, the sailor can move the rudder left or right and let the sails out or draw them in. With this amazing design, high-level quadriplegics – with no movement below the neck – can independently sail the boat. The level of freedom, independence and control experienced by these sailors is exhilarating, challenging and can be life-changing.

Our staff and volunteers assist members with docking the boats, then prepare the boats for the next member’s sail.

We maintain and repair our sailboats with the help of experienced volunteer sailors.