New Disabled Sailing Event announced on Long Island Sound

February 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm 1 comment

A new disabled sailing event, the Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta, will debut at American Yacht Club (Rye, NY) June 5-7, 2009.

‘After running the US Disabled Sailing Championship last June, we learned that disabled sailors were seeking new venues to sail,’ said Robie Pierce Event Chair Siobhan Reilly. ‘They have very few events and most are sailed in small fleets. They liked the Ideal 18s used in the Disabled Champs, and wanted to sail in a larger fleet. Working with other clubs on Long Island Sound we have access to over 60 boats that are basically equal.’

The event has been named in honor of Robie Pierce, a long time advocate of disabled sailing. Since being diagnosed with MS in 1985, Pierce almost single-handedly put disabled sailing on the map. He was instrumental in creating the US Disabled Sailing Championship, winning it himself in its second, fourth years and sixth years; and played a key role in getting sailing as a medal event in the Paralympics. Additionally, he was awarded the Gay S. Lynn award in 2004 by US SAILING for his many contributions to the sport of disabled sailing. To spur on other sailors, both Pierce and event committee member Dr. Carl Olsson (himself the winner of the first and third running of the US SAILING Disabled Championship), will be sailing in the inaugural regatta.

The new event will also be open to blind sailors to expand its reach. ‘It was a real honor to host the Disabled Championship last year, and we look forward to welcoming our friends in disabled sailing back and making new ones in the blind community. They are a remarkable group of people who provide our members and their children the types of role models we think are important. In addition to being great people, they are also great sailors,’ said AYC Commodore Drake Sparkman.

All competitors will receive free use of the Ideal 18s for the regatta and only need to pay a small insurance deposit, refundable after the event if no damages are made to the boats they are sailing.

The new event will provide the largest fleet of one designs sailing in the US with disabled sailors and is one of very few events where the boats are supplied free of charge. The first year’s event will be capped at 25 boats and must be entered by resume.

The Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta will rotate among yacht clubs in Western Long Island Sound, with Larchmont YC scheduled for 2010 and Riverside, host to this year’s US Disabled Sailing Championships, hosting in 2011. It is expected that other clubs in the area will run the event in future years.

Resumes are due April 2, 2009 and those accepted will be notified as such by April 9.
 Sail World

Entry filed under: Get Wet, Public Waterfront, Region. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. TBI Vegas  |  February 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Out of all the boats I’ve had the pleasure of sailing in (or racing)
    the Snipe, the Laser, the Geary 18, the Flying Scot, the Lightning, the 110, I’d recommend the Ideal for safety and performance. Glad to see the US Sailing crew hosting the event…


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