Setting sail

Residents at Windemere go sailing on the Impossible Dream.


On Tuesday, July 13, five residents of Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center went for an afternoon sail out of Menemsha. This is the third summer that we have gone sailing on the Impossible Dream, a 60 foot barrier-free, racing catamaran. The Impossible Dream offers free sailing trips for groups of people who use wheelchairs, as well as those with different illnesses and disabilities.

The Impossible Dream’s mission is to make sailing available to everyone, regardless of their physical ability. Since 2015, she has sailed more than 30,000 miles along the East Coast.

The impossible Dream was designed by Mike Brown, a paraplegic, who had a dream of creating a boat that could sail the world and be fully operational by a person in a wheelchair. The boat has wide ramps, an elevator, and a wheel that is at wheelchair level. The Impossible Dream was designed to enable everyone to have access to the entire boat. The crew of the Impossible Dream is made up of people with and without disabilities. Everyone participates in sailing the boat.

When not offering free day sails, the Impossible Dream participates in highly competitive domestic and international races.

The CEO of the Impossible Dream is Deborah Mellen, who is on all of the sailing trips and races. Deborah, who uses a wheelchair, lives onboard with her crew, including her 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, Beno. The captain of the Impossible Dream is Will Frey and the First Mate is Paulina Belsky.

In the winter, the Impossible Dream is based in Miami at Shake-A-Leg, a global community for people with disabilities and their families, and friends of all abilities to enjoy sailing and watersports.

The residents of Windemere had a wonderful time. This was their first outing in 16 months. (thank you, coronavirus) and they can’t wait to go again. The weather was lovely and the crew could not have been more kind and accommodating.

Betsy Burmeister is recreation therapy director at Windemere.