FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jake Fish, US SAILING Communications Manager
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (September 9, 2009) - The true spirit of competitive sailing will be on display when some of the most courageous athletes from the United States will convene for three days of racing on Captain's Harbor for the 2009 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship (USDSC). This year’s championship, hosted by the Riverside Yacht Club and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Dry Creek Vineyard, will be held on Sept. 11-13, 2009 in Riverside, Conn. The U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship is the only national sailing championship for disabled sailors. Competing sailors will compete for US SAILING’s prestigious Chandler Hovey Trophy and Judd Goldman Trophy.
Managed by US SAILING, the sport’s national governing body, the event is open to any sailor with a physical disability. Participants have included quadriplegics, paraplegics and amputees, as well as individuals with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, polio and ALS. Several past participants of this championship have gone on to compete in the Paralympic Games, including 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist and two time USDSC Singlehanded Champion (2005, 2004), the late - Nick Scandone. Many of this year’s participants have Paralympic ambitions.
Competition will be held in three classes of boats: 2.4mR (singlehanded); Skud-18 (doublehanded); and Ideal-18 (doublehanded). Each sailor's rating is based on their disability. A 1-to-7 rating system is applied to each sailor based on the severity of their respective disability (1 - most severe rating; 7 - least severe rating). In the 2.4mR class, each sailor must have a valid classification rating of 1-7 in order to compete. The Ideal-18 fleet is sailed with two disabled sailors and an able bodied sailor. Teams are free to bring their own able bodied sailor. Volunteers from the Riverside Yacht Club are prepared to take the role as the able-bodied sailor for some teams. In the Skud-18 class, per team one sailor must be severely disabled (classification rating of a 1 or 2) and the other sailor must have any valid classification rating (1-7). At least one of the team members must be a female.
Four sailors will race in the 2.4mR division. Returning to the singlehanded fleet is Charles Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.), who finished second in last week’s Clagett Memorial Regatta. He finished fourth in the 2007 Paralympic Team Trials.
The 2008 USDSC Runner-up in the Ideal-18 division, Sarah Everhart Skeels (Tiverton, R.I.), hopes to get over the top in this year’s Skud-18 fleet. She finished third and won the Nick Scandone Spirit Award in last week’s Clagett Memorial Regatta. Skeels landed in fourth place at the 2007 Paralympic Trials. Skeels will be sailing with US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) member, Robert Jones (Issaquah, Wash.).
Six teams will contend in the Ideal-18 division. This fleet features another USSTAG member, Jen French (St. Petersburg, Fla.), with crew, Kevin Wixom (Lakeside, Calif.) and USSTAG member, Roger Cleworth (Lithia, Fla.). French finished fourth in the 2007 Paralympic Team Trials. The 2003 Clagett Memorial Regatta Champion, Joe Guay (Barrington, R.I.) with crew, Joseph and Christina Del Vecchio (E. Providence, R.I.), has returned to compete for the national championship. Guay finished fourth a year ago. Runner-up at the 2008 Blind Sailing National Championships, Matthew Chao (Newton, Mass.) with crew, Mark Bos (Gloucester, Mass.), also hopes to make a run for the crown.
Since the 1980s, US SAILING has actively supported sailboat racing among physically challenged sailors. The inaugural championship, then called the Independence Cup, took place in 1990 and the event was held in conjunction with the North American Challenge Cup by the Chicago Yacht Club. Beginning in 2008, the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship has been hosted by different sailing organizations around the country to expand awareness of disabled sailing and encourage disabled individuals to take up the sport. Next year’s championship will be held in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Judd Goldman Trophy, given to the winner in the 2.4mR class, is named for Justin “Judd” Goldman (1914-1989). Despite his physical disability, Goldman was an accomplished sailor and inspired the creation of the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program in Chicago.
The winner in the Skud-18 class will receive US SAILING's Chandler Hovey, Jr. Trophy. "Buzz" Hovey, for whom it is named, was active in 12 Metre racing in the 1950’s and 60’s. Hovey was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1947. However, he continued to sail and race actively until he retired from the racing circuit in 1981.
For complete results, daily reports, and photos, please visit the event website at http://championships.ussailing.org/Adult/USDisabledChampionship.htm.
About US SAILING
The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.
About Rolex Watch U.S.A.
Since Rolex Watch U.S.A. first presented timepieces to America's Cup defenders in 1958, the company has consistently recognized and encouraged excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing, including US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics preparation, US SAILING championships, disabled sailing, offshore, one-design and women's events.
About Dry Creek Vineyard
Recognized in sailing circles and known for its sailboat labels. The Dry Creek Vineyard family has expressed its passion for sailing since the early 1980s by designing wine labels featuring classic sailing yachts. Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard is located in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, Calif. The winery is known for producing some of California's finest Fum-Blancs and Zinfandels. Their wines are easy to recognize due to the spirited yacht paintings that appear on each bottle from Dry Creek Vineyard. For more information on Dry Creek Vineyard please visit www.drycreekvineyard.com.