Disabled Sydney to Hobart sailors for SBS doco

By David Knox on December 31, 2009 / Filed Under News 5

daOne of the yachts in the Sydney to Hobart race will feature in a documentary series that has been filmed for SBS.

disABILITIES skipper David Pescud led a disabled crew of blind, limbless and paraplegic sailors to the 29th place in the world’s toughest ocean race, coming second in their division.

The four part series disAble-bodied Sailors will follow the adventure as they find a crew, train a crew and then race a crew comprised of males and females with disabilities.

Director of Content – Television and Online Matt Campbell said, “This is an extraordinary effort by David and his crew. SBS salutes them. We commissioned this documentary series to showcase the determination, strength and skills needed to pursue the dream of competing in this ferocious race – up against extremely athletic, able bodied sailors in million dollar boats – and we know we have an incredible series, featuring incredible people.”

Skipper David Pescud said: “They were terrific, just an amazing attitude. It’s a huge learning curve: we’ve all been through it before, done it, but these guys are, in the middle of the night, being bashed up, bounced up, cold, frozen, yelled at, screamed at. And they just have to learn to deal with it and they did just great.”

Sailors with disABILITIES was started in 1994, and has competed in the Sydney to Hobart race 15 times.

DisAble-bodied Sailors will air on SBS ONE in March as part of the Secrets and Lives anthology.

disAble-bodied sailors place 29th – media release_3

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5 Comments »

  1. Sam Devine March 18, 2010 at 9:29 pm -

    David, thanks for publishing the comment despite its length. I will certainly be contacting SBS regarding their release which contains a shocking use of language from a service that touts itself as ‘multicultural.’ And although SBS sadly put this out, as an independent jounalist who is cited as writing the review, you too have a responsibility to ensure the use of such outdated, insulting language is not perpetrated.
    I will not be watching the doco. I have not owned a TV set in over 20 years, and each time I happen upon one (in hotel rooms etc) my reasons for living without one are reinforced. I would not wish to support such a medium on the pretext that the odd ‘informative’ program may be forthcoming.

  2. David Knox March 18, 2010 at 6:03 pm -

    Sam thanks for the input. Firstly a comment of this length is normally too long for approval here but given the nature of the complaint I have approved it.

    As you can probably imagine I posted the story in order to promote the documentary on a group of achievers not to denigrate any group of people. In posting the story I drew upon the Press Release forwarded to me by SBS and the disAbilities group. It included the language to which you are presumably referring. The language is not something I would make up. I have since attached the Press Release as evidence and to enable you to contact the network to raise these points. I will also draw it to their attention.

    I trust you can see this changes the direction of your complaint and that the story was posted in good faith. I hope you also enjoyed the doco.

  3. Sam Devine March 18, 2010 at 3:47 pm -

    great to see this program featured but the language you have used to describe the people who make up the crew is utterly appalling. We have a string of email amongst friends discussing this use of language, which I will cut and paste below so you understand the level of frustration present when people hear language being used in an unthinking, insensitive way:
    “omgoodness – surely to god he led a crew of sailors or people or at least something that sounds vaguely human not a disabled crew of blind, limbless, paraplegics etc.
    I could cry.’
    “Don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or punch some dumb s*** moron, cretin, retard, d*** w**, jurno. Lost for words and I hope that the limbless bunch of numb nuts are proud.F*** me.”

    As you can see, your review has not been favourably received (there are more emails but out of politeness for your space, I have limited this comment to just two.

    Please, before you write anything again that involves people with any type of disability, could you read and understand A Way with Words. The link to the booklet is: disability.qld.gov.au/community/communication/way-words/

    The preamble to this booklet is: The way in which we refer to people affects the way they are seen by others and, indeed, how they feel about themselves.

    In recent times, the media and the community in general have become increasingly aware that using inappropriate language when referring to people with a disability is offensive and demeaning. The purpose of A way with words is to promote inclusiveness and the fair and accurate portrayal of people with a disability. It is intended as an aid for professional communicators, such as journalists, writers, producers and broadcasters, and provides suggestions for appropriate language, interviewing techniques and media coverage involving people with a disability.

    Please, please, please be aware of the influence you have as a media outlet and act, and write responsibly in future.

  4. mark zanker January 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm -

    Now this is one australian doco i would like to see. Hopefully it rates well.

  5. Ross December 31, 2009 at 11:16 am -

    David, good story, but it’s better to say they are “Sailors with a disability”, then “a disabled crew”.

    That way the reader focuses on the fact they are sailors.

    Think of it this way…a disabled ship is one that can’t sail, while a ship with sailors who are disabled can still sail.

    Wasn’t it great they came 2nd in their division.

    Have a great 2010.

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