by Kat Fisher
SAILING IS FOR ALL -- Mark Rice is shown guiding the Martin 16
dock with Jake Geller and Ross Andrews in the boat at Tempe Town
Arizona State University Sailing Club is trying to make sailing a
competitive sport for people with disabilities.
By Jake Geller
Everyone should have an opportunity to go
sailing, including sailors with disabilities. With specialized
equipment for sailors with disabilities, sailing can be a truly
competitive sport for all.
People with disabilities are already competing in the sport of
sailing. Sailing is a Paralympic sport, and sailors with
disabilities will be competing in Beijing immediately following the
Olympics in the same venue.
This year's winner of the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award was
Nick Scandone, winner of the 2.4 mR World Championship. Scandone was
diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta
One-way to increase the pool of elite Paralympic sailors is the
C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta in Newport, R. I.
Last year, members of the Arizona State University Sailing Club
participated in the third annual regatta.
The organizers of the Clagett Regatta’s vision are to become the
leader in developmental competitive sailing opportunities for
sailors with disabilities within US SAILING.
The clinic consisted of two days of instruction and two days of
competition. When competitors first got there, no one was starting
on time, but by the end of the two days, most everyone was having
This would not have been possible without the support of the
sailing community. Betsy Alison, five-time winner of the Rolex
Yachtswoman of the Year, headed the coaching staff and made great
sailors excellent sailors.
Not only were there local volunteers and organizers, but also
people from across the country came to share their expertise.
The past three years they used only Sonars for the clinic and
regatta. This year, the event will be expanded to include the
SKUD-18 and 2.4 mR in the upcoming clinic and regatta.
All three of these boats are Paralympic class boats. This year's
clinic and regatta will be the 2006 US Disabled Sailing Team
qualifier for the SKUD-18 class, as approved by the Olympic Sailing
The ASU Sailing Club
Locally, the Arizona State University Sailing Club is also trying
to make sailing a more competitive sport for people with
disabilities. After being recognized by the Community Sailing
Council of US SAILING for having an outstanding program for disabled
sailors, the ASU Sailing Club needs to become a more credible and
competitive sailing program for sailors of all abilities.
An investment in equipment for the ASU sailing club will allow
the club to reach its goals. The immediate goal of the ASU Sailing
Club is to purchase an Autohelm/Windlass system for the Martin16 for
sailors with significant disabilities to operate the steering and
sail trim with either a joystick or "sip and puff" control.
This equipment is not cheap, and the ASU Sailing Club needs the
help of the entire community, including sailors, to raise the $5,111
needed to make sailing a sport for everyone.
The mission of the ASU Sailing Club is to promote sailing and
sailing education for people of all abilities within the greater ASU
community and to develop personal leadership skills and team
building skills through the sport of sailing for everyone,
regardless of ability.
The ASU Sailing Club primarily sails on Tempe Town Lake. To read
more about the ASU Sailing Club and information on how to make
charitable contributions to the club, please visit