AVID LOWESTOFT DISABLED SAILOR CONTINUES LIFELONG PASSION THANKS TO WAVENEY SAILABILITY AND REMARKABLE BREEZE MOBILITY SCOOTER
Jim Smith, 66 from Lowestoft, lives with restricted mobility however he has been able to enjoy sailing once more with the help of a TGA Breeze S4 GT mobility scooter from BeActive Mobility and by joining the RYA Waveney Sailability centre on Oulton Broad, Suffolk.
Sailing is one of the very few sports in which able-bodied and disabled sailors can participate on equal terms. Sailability encourages and supports people with disabilities worldwide to take up the sport and facilitate sites to develop sailing opportunities such as the centre at Oulton Broad. Jim is one of 70 members and despite needing a hoist to board the specially adapted ‘Access’ dinghies, he sails single-handedly once a week weather permitting and thoroughly enjoys reliving his teenage memories. However he has only been able to continue his lifelong hobby recently thanks to a remarkable TGA Breeze from BeActive as his mobility has deteriorated. This robust mobility scooter not only gives Jim freedom to move around outside, it also delivers all the power required to tow boats into the water via a specially engineered tow hook. These can include RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats), which are similar in size and weight to inshore rescue boats and thanks to the amazing traction and performance of the Breeze, are easily manoeuvred between boathouse and slipway.
Jim explains: “I remember so many happy times in my early twenties at the helm of craft such as Enterprises and GP14s. I used to sail in and offshore all around the UK and always wanted to relive these memories later in life, however my restricted mobility became a problem. With a gap of 40 years behind me, I am now a fully-fledged member of Sailability and my love of the water has returned thanks to my new TGA Breeze mobility scooter. My interest in boats all started when I helped to build a full-scale boat in woodwork classes at school, which fascinated me. I don’t think there is a feeling quite like it when you are out on the water and your sails are set trim.”
Jim continues: “Seeing the members of my Sailability centre struggling to move dinghies around manually on trolleys got me thinking, there must be a way to help. This is when my Breeze came to the rescue. I initially started towing the boats using rope looped around the seat but this wasn’t satisfactory and hence asked BeActive to help me. Shaun Green at BeActive came up trumps and arranged for my scooter to be sent back to TGA for a specially designed tow bar to be fitted correctly and in accordance with safety regulations. Well, this mobility scooter has not only made such a difference to my life with its incredible range and comfort, but it has really helped all the members of Waveney Sailability as I take the hassle away from manually launching dinghies. I own the GT version with wider rear wheels which appeared on BBC Top Gear and I’d recommend this machine to anyone needing help with independence in a rural environment.”
The TGA Breeze brand has an established and respected reputation for providing exceptional reliability, comfort and build quality. Both the latest three and four-wheel 12km/h (8mph) Breeze S3 and S4 models continue this super heritage with the additional of several new features. These have been made possible by the latest advancements in TGA scooter engineering and include a unique, ‘BMW motorbike style’ optional rigid canopy.
Modern aesthetics reflecting the direction of automotive design can be seen throughout the chassis mouldings and their full round suspension and shock absorbers have been re-engineered for an even smoother ride. These deliver industry-leading levels of stability and will ensure users weighing up to 130kg (330lbs) remain comfortable and in complete control even over uneven terrain. Similar to the technology incorporated in the Breeze Midi models, the Breeze S3 and S4 encompass energy absorbing bumpers for added safety and to minimise lateral movement whilst driving. The rear transaxle motor delivers all the power and performance expected from a TGA Breeze and can tackle a 9.5o slope with ease, which was clearly demonstrated when it won the recent BBC Top Gear extreme mobility scooter challenge.