Milwaukee Chosen for 2013 Disabled Sailing Championships

Milwaukee Community Sailing Center (MCSC) has been selected to host the 2013 US Disabled Sailing Championship by US Sailing. This event is the only national championship for disabled sailors and will be held on the Great Lakes for the first time September 5-8, 2013. MCSC welcomes this event and will be partnering with Great Lakes Sports Fishermen Milwaukee Chapter, Harken Yacht Fittings, Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities, Milwaukee County Parks Department, Milwaukee Yacht Club, Port of Milwaukee, South Shore Yacht Club, VISIT Milwaukee and the WI Department of Tourism.

Any sailor with a disability including quadriplegics, paraplegics and amputees, as well as individuals with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, polio and ALS can compete. It is expected to bring in approximately 45 registered competitors including medalists from previous Paraolympic games. The four-day event will include a racing clinic on Thursday, two races on Friday and Saturday, with a final race and awards ceremony on Sunday.

The local regatta co-chairs are the husband and wife team of Helen “Cookie” Mueller and John Archibald. Local sailor and paraolympian Jon Ruf (2008 bronze medalist) is also serving on the host committee.

Sailors compete for the Goldman, Hinkel and Hovey trophies

The US Disabled National Championship has three different categories based on the class of boat. The three different boats include the single-handed 2.4mR, double-handed. Ideal-18 and the open three-person Sonar keelboat. Each sailor is given a rating based on the severity of his or her respective disability. Ratings are given on a scale of one to seven, one being the most severe and seven being the least severe. In the 2.4mR class, sailors must have a valid classification rating between one and seven in order to compete for the Judd Goldman Trophy. In the Ideal-18 class, each team must consist of a sailor with a rating of one or two while the other team member can have a rating between one and seven. In addition, one of the team members must be a female in order to take home the Chandler Hovey trophy. The triple-handed division includes teams made up of two disabled sailors and one able-bodied sailor that compete in Sonar keel boats for the Gene Hinkel trophy.

MCSC begins preparations for 2013 event

Milwaukee Community Sailing Center is preparing its facilities to host the event in 2013 by refurbishing its two hoyer lifts and constructing a new entry way. The hoyer lifts will be mounted to the dock and can transport the disabled competitors from wheelchairs into their boats. MCSC has earmarked $7,000 for the lifts and $40,000 for the new walkway from its Capital Improvement Reserve. Arrangements will be made with local boat yards, marinas and local sport fishermen for powerboats for coaches and support teams.

Milwaukee As A Maritime Destination

An additional goal of this event will be to begin a partnership with local water related businesses to further promote Milwaukee as a fresh water destination. Moving forward, the Milwaukee lakefront community hopes that coastal Lake Michigan in the Milwaukee area can be recognized as providing economic opportunities for recreational purposes. A successful regatta will open the discussion regarding the lakefront for sport and recreational use beyond the beach and waterfront concerts.

About the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center

Milwaukee Community Sailing Center provides meaningful programs to experience Lake Michigan sailing that engages all members of the community regardless of their age, cultural or racial background, or financial status. Programs are tailored to meet the needs and interests of a diverse population – adults, youths and persons with disabilities, with a focus on innovative and character-building learning experiences.

Participants will discover hidden abilities to broaden their life skills and self-development including self-reliance, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership skills. For more information, visit www.sailingcenter.org or call (414) 277-9094.

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