> US SAILING Media > Sailor of the Week > 2010 > Sailor of the Week - December, 2010 > Nichole Rider
Sailor of the Week: Nov. 25 - Dec. 1
As of last spring, Nichole Rider, a partial quadriplegic from Laramie, Wyo., knew very little about sailing. Fortunately for Nichole, sailing found her. Last April, Nichole was on vacation in Miami, Fla. In advance, she had researched adaptive sports opportunities in the area, and she came across Shake-A-Leg Miami. Initially she was interested in handcycling and kayaking. However, when she was offered the chance to go sailing on a Sonar, Nichole jumped at the chance to learn. That decision changed her life.
“Sailing the sonar was exhilarating to say the least,” said Nichole. “It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. From the first moment I took the helm, the wind filled the sails and we were slicing through the water, I was hooked. It was like I found home.”
Since that memorable Miami Vacation, Nichole has raced in six regattas. She made a number of friends throughout her racing trips this summer and made it a priority to spread the word about other disabled sailing opportunities. “My sailing career would not have taken off like it has had it not been for others, so I pretty much talk about sailing with anyone I encounter.”
Nichole is looking forward to racing in several regattas in 2011, including US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship next August 29 – September 1 in Rochester, N.Y. “I just want to get out there and do the best I can, keep learning as I go, and enjoy the whole experience of it all while being around other great women sailors.”
Nichole has managed to acquire an adapted system for an O'Day 17 DaySailer and two TackMaster transfer seating/steering devices to enable her and other disabled sailors to helm J24s and Etchells.
Nichole has already asked the designer/builder Jorg Pawlik for J22 and EScow TackMaster systems.
Nichole plans to get as involved in the sport as possible. She is the chair for an all-women’s sailing and juniors’ clinic at Cherry Creek Reservoir in Denver this May, being hosted by the Community Sailing of Colorado. She recently took on the role of secretary for the Denver Sailing Association.
“Sailing has influenced my life in ways that nothing has ever come close to,” she said. “The sport and all the people I have met have enriched my life beyond words.”