Bob Ewing took position and in his wheelchair, he rolls up to his sailboat with the nonchalance of a seasoned sailor.
The wheelchair that he used for everything, he parked it alongside the boat of 22-foot long, anchors it to the dock, after then lifts his legs, which are paralyzed over the gunwale of boat gunwale and by taking the help of a volunteer, slowly slides his lanky frame of the wheelchair and accommodated themselves into the cockpit.
As Ewing settles in at the rudder, he turns to his companion of sailing on the dock, asking them to remove their wheelchairs, crutches and slide aboard.
It was all faster than one can sing a sea shanty; Ewing was in the boat and started his two-hour sail in the Washington Lake.
For the last 26 years, Ewing has shared his time and boat both with other people who have disabilities with the help of Footloose Sailing Association (FSA), a nonprofit organization which he co-founded with two of his other friends. He launched it to provide opportunities of sailing for people who have certain types of disabilities.
The motto of the club is, “Leave your disability at the dock,” is both inspiration and fact.
According to Ewing, everyone and with the word everyone, he means everyone has the ability to sail. Ewing took up sailing seriously after hurting and breaking his neck while diving into the Yakima River when he was 43 years ago. So far, Ewing has sailed with people who have gone paralyzed by strokes, cerebral palsy, and people with multiple sclerosis, head injuries and with the people who has learning disabilities. The most astonishing was his sailing trip with a boy on a ventilator. He had also sailed with people who can’t see.