June 2006

Sailing Is A Sport For Everyone

ASU Sailing ClubPhoto by Kat Fisher

SAILING IS FOR ALL -- Mark Rice is shown guiding the Martin 16 around the
dock with Jake Geller and Ross Andrews in the boat at Tempe Town Lake. The
Arizona State University Sailing Club is trying to make sailing a more
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 flawless starts.

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 Committee.

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 http://www.asu.edu/clubs/sailing.