Paralympic Team Ready for Rio - Sail Magazine

Paralympic Team Ready for Rio

Author:
Publish date:
Dee Smith will be competing in his first Paralympics

Dee Smith will be competing in his first Paralympics. Photo courtesy of Sander van der Bor

Although the 2016 Olympics may be done and dusted, there’s still a lot of racing to be done on Rio’s Guanabara Bay, thanks to the Paralympic Games, scheduled for September 7-18.

The United States is sending six sailors to this year’s games who will be competing in three classes: the SKUD-18, the 2.4mR and the Sonar. As with the Olympic squad, this year’s Paralympic team was selected on the basis of how the sailors performed in a pair of international qualifying regattas, including the World Cup Miami regatta this past winter.

According to Josh Adams, director of U.S. Olympic Sailing, the thinking behind this process was the same as with the Olympic team: to both see how the sailors perform and give them as much experience as possible at the increasingly competitive international level.

Of course, the U.S. Paralympic squad, which is under the direction of head coach Betsy Alison, will also be contending with the same fluky, tidal conditions on Guanabara Bay that make this one of the trickiest Olympic sailing venues in history. With a few lucky breaks, though, this is a group of sailors that could very well continue the success of 2012, when JP Creignou and Jen French won silver in the SKUD 18 class at the London Olympics.

Representing the United States in the Sonar three-person keelboat class will be Rick Doerr of Clifton, New Jersey, Brad Kendell of Tampa, Florida, and Hugh Freund of South Freeport, Maine. A truly veteran team—Doerr has been with US Sailing Team Sperry for 16 years, and the trio has been sailing as a team for seven years—they are on a roll, having won the Paralympic worlds this past spring, and are looking strong heading into Rio.

Representing the United States in the doublehanded SKUD-18 skiff class will be first-time Paralympian Ryan Porteous of San Diego, California, and Maureen McKinnon, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, who won Gold in the same class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, sailing with the late Nick Scandone. The two only secured their spots on the roster following a closely-fought battle with teammates Sarah Everhart-Skeels and Cindy Walker that came down to the final race at the 2016 Para World Sailing Championships, and hope to carry that momentum to Rio.

Finally, competing in the 2.4mR keelboat solo class will be Dee Smith of Annapolis, Maryland. Although this will be Smith’s first Paralympics, Smith is no stranger to the international sailing scene, having competed in the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race before contracting stage-four lung cancer, a condition that ultimately impacted his spine as well. For more on the Paralympic team, visit ussailing.org.

Production for a film on adaptive sailing will be wrapping up shortly after the Paralympics

Production for a film on adaptive sailing will be wrapping up shortly after the Paralympics. Photo courtesy of Barbaro-Gould Foundation

Racing to Rio: The Movie

The 2016 Paralympic regatta will not only mark the end of the U.S. Paralympic sailing team’s current quadrennial campaign, but also the final chapter in the production of the film Racing to Rio. Spearheaded by the not-for-profit Barbaro-Gould Foundation, the film explores the many ways adaptive sailing provides enrichment for sailors in any number of different settings: ranging from the Paralympic Games in Rio to programs like Camp Awesome, which helps kids on the Asperger’s spectrum take control of their own lives through sailing.

According to the foundation’s Todd Gould, filming began in late 2015 with production wrapping up in November. After that, he and foundation CEO Jennifer Barbaro plan to enter the work at a number of film festivals. In the meantime, the foundation is still in need of financial support for the project. For details, visit racing2rio.com.

September 2016

Related

Thoreau

A Thoreau Approach to Sailing

I know someone who spent two years, two months and two days staring at the water, living in a space 150ft square, and paying keen attention to the weather. This sounds like a happy circumnavigation, and in a sense, it was, because the person I’m referring to is Henry David ...read more

shutterstock_1886572

Cruising: Won Over by Lake Michigan

Like many, I often spend my sailing holidays far away from home, assuming that real adventure requires some kind of international flight. More and more, though, I’m learning that some of the best sailing vacations can be found right in my own backyard.In this spirit, I skipped my ...read more

00WindGenerator700x

How-to: Installing a Wind Generator

Solar panels or wind generator? There’s little doubt that for Stateside cruising, especially down South where the amount of sunshine outstrips the strength of the wind for much of the year, solar is top of the list for liveaboard and long-term cruisers. Having seen what even a ...read more

01-Ursus-Maritimus-31081

The Figawi Race: A New England Classic

When I was 15, some of my sailing classmates kicked off the summer by sailing the Figawi, New England’s legendary season-opening race held every Memorial Day weekend. A winding course between Hyannis and Nantucket, it was a seemingly epic voyage to a bunch of kids who had never ...read more

03-Panama-Posse-honduras

Panama Posse Enters Its Second Year

The Panama Posse is back this month after a successful inaugural rally in 2017-2018. This year it includes visits to seven Central American countries—Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama.Over the course of the rally, organizers provide ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comLetting go the sheetTaking a loaded-up sheet off a winch when the boat tacks can be a just cause for nervousness. On a boat up to 40ft or so, the safest way is to first ease off a few inches, keeping the ...read more

USCGReadyForRescue_Identifier_FullColor

USCG Ready for Rescue Challenge

The U.S. Coast Guard is now collaborating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on something it calls the “Ready for Rescue,” a $255,000 prize competition that is looking for ways that will make it easier to locate people, MOB victims in particular, in the water.The ...read more

04-CLR1718md1085-jpg

A Historic Win for Wendy Tuck

This past summer Australian sailor, Wendy Tuck (inset), became the first woman to win a round-the-world yacht race when she and her crew aboard Sanya Serenity Coast claimed the overall victory in the 2017-18 Clipper Race. “I am just so happy,” Tuck said at the finish in ...read more