Mobility-impaired sailors and able-bodied sailors join to race on open water for fifth year in a row


When sailors who are mobility-impaired set out to competitively race on open water unconfined by their wheelchairs, it is nothing less than a scene of guts, courage and accomplishment—a scene that will repeat itself for the fifth year in a row when the Défi Sperry Challenge Presented by BNI pursuit race takes place on Saturday, August 26.


The full-day event is dedicated to raising funds for sailors who suffer mobility impairment but whose wish to sail beyond their daily physical challenges signals a special kind of determination and courage.

“The ability to sail while mobility-impaired is freeing—but it’s something more than that,” says event organizer Patrick Flaherty.


“It’s all about courage, skill and daring—and the sheer determination to overcome enormous obstacles. Right from the beginning our event wanted to honour this unique determination by fundraising for the fantastic organization that supports them: the Association québecoise de voile adaptée (AQVA).”

For five years now, sailors and power boaters from Quebec have joined forces at Dorval’s Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club to raise funds for the gutsy sailors of AQVA. The unique event is endorsed by the Voile Québec and Sail Canada governing bodies.
“Along with them, it is our fantastic sponsors who make this event possible each year and we are truly honoured by their support,” said Flaherty. “After three generous years, Sperry’s lead sponsorship of this event will be taken up by BNI Canada—for which we are very grateful.”


The riveting pursuit race which includes mobility-impaired sailors will be presented by BNI Canada, a business networking organization whose Director is Kai Bjorn, himself an Olympic sailor, during this fifth anniversary year.


Also fundraising for the day, individual luxury yachts are offering their annual Cruise for a Cause–an afternoon of cruising enjoyment from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for non-sailors.


“Getting out on the water on one of our cruisers is a wonderful way to show your support for AQVA,” says Flaherty.

“We are thrilled to welcome BNI Canada this year in support of the gutsiest sailors you or I will ever know,” he continues. “The cause is fantastic and the day will be fun and exciting. So save the date and donate, participate or sponsor!”


Participants can register a boat (there is no entry fee; participants may simply register online) or reserve a cruise ($100 per person). A tax receipt will be provided for each donation. Dinner, a silent auction and other things are also on offer, post-race. All proceeds will go to AQVA.


The Royal St-Lawrence Yacht Club is located at 1350 chemin Bord du Lac, Dorval, QC H9S 2E3.
For more information contact event organizer, Patrick Flaherty  at (450 458-5810). To register, visit



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