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2013 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships hosted by Milwaukee Community Sailing Center

September 5-6, 2013

Racing Sailors Ready in Boat  /  Race Sailboat turned and Heading Out  /  Race Sailboat on it's way  /  Race Sailboat with Milwaukee marina in background  /  Race Sailboat in full wind
Team Sara Everhart-Skeels and Gerry Tiernan from Newport/Maine

Congratulations to our very own Wisconsinite, John Ruf, from Pewaukee, who won the 2.4mR class race, the U.S. Disabled Singlehanded Championship, coming in first in all 7 races of the event for the Judd Goldman Trophy this weekend at the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships on Lake Michigan, hosted by the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, sanctioned by U.S. Sailing.

The team of Sara Everhart-Skeels and Gerry Tiernan from Newport/Maine (photos above) won the Ideal 18 class race, U.S. Doublehanded Championship for the Chandler Hovey Trophy. This is a first for these sailors to win a U.S. Sailing Championship race although they are experienced and accomplished athletes in the world of competitive sail racing. Three days of sailing gave up just seven races due to inclement weather on Saturday, September 7th. Otherwise the sailors raced through large wave conditions and 18-20 knot winds at times on Friday, September 6th. Although they all described the waves as being exceedingly challenging, everyone seemed willing to ride them for the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship and the coveted awards. Congratulations to all the competitors for a challenging race weekend!

Welcome sign at iron gate for the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships with MCSC Building and Milwaukee in the background  /  MCSC Volunteers and sailors on dock and ramp  /  MCSC Volunteers and sailors on dock and ramp  / MCSC Volunteers and sailors on dock and ramp  / MCSC Volunteers and sailors on dock and ramp  / 
U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships hosted by the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center was the host to the athlete sailors with disabilities who travelled from all over the United States to compete. Several came from the Chicago, Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, which boasts an Adaptive Sailing Program that offers sailing classes for people with disabilities. Many of the attending sailors in Milwaukee had competed in the North American Challenge Cup (NACC) the end of July in Chicago, a well-respected sailing regatta for disabled adults, hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club in partnership with the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation. The NACC is a very competitive regatta that has grown tremendously over the past two decades, from its inaugural year in 1992 with racing in only one class, the Freedom 20s, to the addition of two Paralympics class sailboats, the one-person 2.4mR and the three-person Sonar. The race in Milwaukee was sanctioned by U.S.Sailing and was the official U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships. For more about the race, photos and results, visit 2013 U.S. Disabled Championships.

Close up Adaptive retrofit inside hold Ideal 18 racing sailboat  / Adaptive retrofit inside hold Ideal 18 racing sailboat from front  /  Sailors prepare boat
Retrofit for the Ideal 18

Ron Zingler, volunteer and board member from the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, described the retrofit for the Ideal 18 Racing Sailboat that he and others built for the event. They received the designs for the retrofit from a yacht club in New York. The sailboats are U.S. Sailing approved boats and the adaptive fabricated seats must be able to invert in case the helmsman and crew wish to switch sides. As no holes could be drilled in the hull, the self-inserting adaptive seats and bracket to hold the seats needed to fit snuggly into the hold of the sailboats. The retrofits were a great success as seen in the photos above!

More about the The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center's Adaptive Sailing Program

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center's Adaptive Sailing Program offers sailing rides to people with disabilities on Fridays for over 700 people with disabilities throughout the summer. Registration for participants is through the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities. The MCSC's docks are stable and wide and ADA specified. Each sailor must have some upper body strength and the participants must sign a waiver that they can swim and wear a properly fitted life jacket. People with various types of disabilities have participated in the program with the only other exception of those with a weight limitation.

Weather permitting, four adults plus one volunteer are sent out in the MCSC's 23 foot Ensigns which have a simple rig, are easy to handle and sit deep in the water. The volunteers and participants are well versed in the safety of sailing. This program is possible through the generous MCSC and their many volunteers. Contact Tim or Michael at the Milwaukee County Office at (414) 278-3932(VOICE), (414) 278-3937(TDD) and (414)278-3939(FAX) or send e-mail to tim.ochnikowski@milwcnty.com, if you wish to schedule a time to sail during the summer.

The experience of hosting the championship has bolstered the MCSC's desire to develop an Adaptive Sailing Program of their own that includes training people with disabilities. They are an experienced sailing enterprise for disabled sailors and we look forward to this new opportunity for people with disabilities here in Milwaukee.

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