Harken Derm

I Am A Sailor – April Hubbard

Published on March 25th, 2019

April Hubbard

In the ‘I Am A Sailor’ series which seeks to recognize all sailors across Canada who share a passion for the sport, Rob Dunbar provides this report for Sail Canada:


All too often we judge each other’s or our own self-worth on accomplishments, titles, and letters behind our name or numbers in our bank account. But the reality is a person’s impact on others is the defining factor.

As a pioneer in the adaptable sailing movement, I can say with confidence that all the volunteers that make the program function are true impact players, of which April Hubbard of Sail Able Nova Scotia in Halifax is a true impact player.

Her journey began at the annual Sail Able BBQ in 2006 in an effort to meet other wheelchair users who were living active lives. “I have met many amazing individuals who are living their dreams while embracing their disability rather than overcome it,” notes Hubbard.

On her inaugural sail, the wind breathed life into her sails both literally and figuratively. A whole new world opened up for April as it was the first time in years that she had a moment of power over a disease that attacked her body.

“For years I was only seen as a disabled person,” she shares. “No one believed I could take care of myself let alone anything else. On my first day with Sail Able, they had no doubt about my abilities and trusted me to sail a Martin 16. Their faith in me gave me the confidence to start believing in myself.”

As a measure to give back to a program that has given her so much, April has taken on the role of writing grant applications and running fundraising campaigns to allow for more people to experience the benefits of Sail Able NS.

Along with these duties, April spends a lot of time behind her camera lens witnessing many golden memories of pure bliss on faces of young participants, tears of joy from parents or the sight of empty wheelchairs on the dock as the ultimate freedom are forever etched in her mind.

“Living with a disability can be very isolating but having the chance to get to know so many powerful people who are thriving with a disability has given me strength, says Hubbard. “Sail Able’s real gift to me was the courage to live my life.”
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