> US SAILING Media > Latest News > 2010 > Sailors Train and Test Their Skills at 2010 Clagett Memorial Regatta
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
US SAILING Communications Manager
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (August 25, 2010) - The 8th annual C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Regatta, a premier event for sailors with disabilities, is scheduled to begin Wednesday, August 25 and conclude on Thursday, August 26. A summer nor’easter has slightly rearranged the competition schedule this week at Sail Newport in Rhode Island. Monday’s clinic took place as planned, however, a north-northeasterly breeze that was gusting to 29 knots kept three of the four competing fleets (2.4 Metre, SKUD-18, Sonar and J/22) from putting the chalk-talk lessons into practice. Only the SKUD-18s headed on the water to sail with their coach, Betsy Alison (US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics Paralympic Coach), while the remaining fleets continued working on shore with coaches Craig Guthrie, Amanda Callahan and Meg Gaillard.
Event organizers have expanded the scope this year by incorporating able-bodied sailors to compete in two of the four classes raced in the event: the single person 2.4 Metre and the Sonar, whose three-person crew must include at least one sailor with disabilities. This addition to the event was put into motion to get more sailors and boats competing, and improve the level of competition in these fleets. The clinic and regatta is open to both U.S. and foreign competitors.
The clinic, a signature event for the Clagett Regatta, featured former world class sailors sharing their expertise with competitors on everything from the racing rules to match racing techniques.
Since the inception of the Clagett Regatta, the event has grown from offering racing in just the Sonar (2003-2004), to include the 2.4 Metre (2005), and the two-person SKUD-18 (2006), which are all classes selected for the 2012 Paralympic Games. In 2008, event organizers added a blind sailor division who race in Sail Newport’s fleet of J/22s. These teams of four consist of two visually impaired sailors, racing with two sighted guides. The 2010 Blind Sailing National Championship will also be decided this week.
The core mission of the event is to provide sailors with disabilities an arena in which to improve and test their competitive skills. Current US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members competing in this year’s event are Paul Callahan (Sonar), Charlie Rosenfield (2.4 Metre), Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (SKUD-18), and Sarah Everhart Skeels (SKUD-18).
The event honors the late Tom Clagett (1916-2001), who, as a youngster, suffered temporary paralysis as the result of a bout of meningitis. This experience left him with a deep respect for the accomplishments of people with disabilities, especially athletes.
In August 2002, a small group of people gathered to discuss how to take sailors with disabilities to an elite level of sailing in order to increase the talent pool of U.S. sailors vying for Paralympic competition. This discussion led to the formation of the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Regatta, first held in August 2003, with the help and support of Tom Clagett’s daughter and granddaughter, Judy and Stephanie McLennan. The event is sanctioned by US SAILING and the Organizing Authority is Sail Newport.
“This is one way of exposing more sailors to The Clagett,” said event founder Judy McLennan. “Our mission is to help people reach their individual goals and this new initiative is in direct response to requests from competitors who want to race in more competitive fleets.”
For more information, please visit the event web site.
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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.