Chile has an extensive coast from north to south (5.000 km), but the interaction of citizens with it is distant. Some reasons for this are mainly due to the lack of public access to nautical activities (mostly recreational) because those we see today are mainly developed by private yacht clubs where access to the community is generally very restricted. This is why we consider relevant to facilitate the inclusion and take advantage of territorial opportunities of the city of Valparaíso, Chile´s main port, through a social innovation initiative that we present below, pioneering in its type, which seeks to develop various nautical activities (sailing and diving apnea mainly) within reach of the whole community and in an inclusive way.
Why sailing and free diving? Because they are traditional activities in the sea of Valparaiso that were losing relevance as time went on, mainly because of the difficulty of access and the way of developing them. In the case of sailing, often because of physical abilities and knowledge requirements (sailing is seen as something elitist, distant and very difficult to master, having to take courses or go with an instructor or monitor on board to be able to navigate safely). As for the free diving, one of the main reasons why it has been decreasing its activity is due to the fact that it is considered as a hunting activity, it is also perceived as predatory, a competition to search for records and not recreational.
This is the first time in Chilean history that an inclusive social innovation project regarding access to the sea and inclusive nautical activities is being developed, where the community will be able to get involved in sailing and free diving. We seek to implement Australian Hansa Sailboats of Inclusive Design, so that everyone, even those who have no sailing notions or have a disability can take advantage of the benefits, of the interaction with the ocean, the wind and the freedom of doing nautical activities. With this, we managed to solve the difficulties of access and inclusion in nautical activities of this type.
“Valparaíso Returns to the Sea” is an initiative presented by Puerto Deportivo Valparaíso, co-funded by CORFO and co-created with Plataforma Áurea, which aims to facilitate access to nautical activities in the city of Valparaíso. Puerto Deportivo is Chile’s first and only public nautical center (“Public Yacht Club”) which in its 13 years of life has managed to create and develop nautical activities giving access to the sea for the community of Valparaiso.
The idea of this project was born from the friendship of years with Thomas Elton and Angela Herrera of Puerto Deportivo, from the love that we share for the sea and Chile. In addition to the contact and alliance with the Australian Sailing for Everyone Foundation (who share the motto of “Sailing for Everyone”), since they not only designed the perfect sailboats for people with different abilities, but their mission is associated to the Inclusion, understanding therefore that sailing aboard a Hansa Sailing Boat, people of different ages, social conditions, physical capacities, can enjoy sailing and the contact with the ocean in the same way, without limitations or differences, because with Inclusive Sailing, at sea we are all the same.
The potential of this initiative is mainly due to the increasing demand that exists today by citizens that want to relate more closely to the sea and nautical activities in general. Due to the above it is necessary to have certified instructors and monitors that can meet this demand. As we seek the nautical and the sea for all, and to respond to the previously mentioned need, is that we will create a course that certifies monitors in inclusive navigation and recreational apnea diving (snorkeling or free diving). As a consequence, we consider relevant that this project will be a generator of jobs associated with these nautical activities when certifying inclusive instructors in recreational topics.
At the same time this project has the scalable possibility of contributing to the tourism market of the region by offering the possibility of sailing the coast in a simple and secure way.
SOME RELEVANT DATA
In the validation stage of the concept we conducted surveys to 100 random users of Puerto Deportivo Valparaíso and a 600 random online survey, whose main result is that 97% declare to be in favor of the project and the positive and social impact that can generate.
In March we held a workshop called “Valparaiso Returns to the Sea” which was attended by a panel consisting of Chris Mitchell, Founder of Hansa Sailing and Sailing for Everyone Foundation, with experts from various areas including: Navigation, Diving, Kinesiology and Disability. Through the use of conversation methodologies such as Sociocracia 3.0 and World Café, we were able to generate a space for conversation and register the main considerations of the participants for the design of an inclusive nautical monitors course.
In April we were invited by Hansa Sailing and the International Hansa Class Association, to be part of the 2017 Asia Pacific International Hansa Championship, where we participate as volunteers helping and learning all that involves an inclusive sailing championship with sailors of different ages, physical capacities, genders and all the Sailing for Everyone Philosophy. We also participated in the regatta, getting the chance to live this wonderful experience on land and at sea. This was very important for us in order to understand what we need to develop in Valparaiso for Sailing for Everyone, and we met all these amazing “family” that is Hansa Sailing Class, where they gave us all their support, especially from Hansa Sailing, Sailing for Everyone Foundation and Hansa Class (international and Australian).
We became Hansa Sailing Distributors for Chile and South America (except Brazil) and the ambassadors of Sailing for Everyone Foundation (we are developing the Chilean Sailing for Everyone Foundation during July).
In June, with the support of Hansa Sailing, World Sailing, with their Paraworlds Development Program (PDP) and the Chilean Sailing Federation, our country, for the first time in history competes in the Paraworlds Sailing Kiel 2017. Cristian Figari, Second Lieutenant of the Chilean Navy finished 8th of 31 competitors in the Hansa 303 Male Class on the Paraworlds. We are very proud of his participation in Kiel, not only because he is the first Chilean that competes on a Paraworlds, but specially for his amazing result, considering that it was the first time that he sailed onboard a Hansa 303 was in the PDP only 3 days before the Paraworlds. He is also our ambassador for Sailing for Everyone Chile and Valparaiso Returns to the Sea Project.
On June 15th (while Cristian was competing on Kiel) the first Inclusive Sailing Club (Chilean Hansa Class) was born. Because of this and Valparaiso Returns to the Sea Project, the Chilean Sailing Federation, in an unanimous vote during the general assembly meeting of June 16th agreed to be part of the Chilean Paralympic Committee.
That same day, the first Hansa 303 arrived to Puerto Deportivo, donated by Sailing for Everyone Foundation, reassuring the commitment of Hansa Sailing and Sailing for Everyone Foundation with our project and Sailing for Everyone in Chile.
Although the first Hansa 303 haven´t sailed in Valparaiso yet, the Sailing for Everyone is sailing with fair winds. During the next weeks we are going to sign a joint venture with Valparaiso Municipality in order to bring the community to our program, these will be new historic progress to the city were the mayor and all his team will be onboard with Sailing for Everyone and the Valparaiso Returns to the Sea project.
Besides the support of Hansa Sailing, Sailing for Everyone Foundation, International Hansa Class Association, Australian Hansa Class Association and World Sailing we have the commitment of Chilean institutions such as: Valparaiso Municipality, Chilean Sailing Federation (FEDEVELA), SENADIS (National Disability Service), CORFO, Corporación Mirada de Amor (Corporation for people with mental disabilities) y Fundación Mar de Chile.
Valparaiso Returns to the Sea Project is the beginning; we are working so that this project continues growing in the rest of Chile, in order that the whole country returns to the sea and enjoy the inclusive nautical activities.
We believe that it is fundamental to have public, inclusive, safe and easy access to the sea and nautical activities, like Puerto Deportivo Valparaiso, and with it develop the Nautical Industry in Chile and South America.
Here you can check some videos of Hansa Sailing and Sailing for Everyone concept in Australia: