Mobility-impaired sailors master the waves and race to win
The prospect of sailing can be exciting, exhilarating and daunting all at the same time—imagine what someone normally confined to a wheelchair feels as he or she sets out to race a sailboat on open water.
The third annual Sperry Challenge, coming up on Saturday, August 29 at Dorval’s Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club, has dedicated itself to those who do just that.
The full-day event is dedicated to raising funds for sailors who suffer mobility impairment but whose determination and zest to sail beyond their daily physical challenges signals a special kind of courage.
“The ability to sail while mobility-impaired is freeing—but it’s something more than that,” said 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 two 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 resulting success of this ever-expanding event, fuelled by the generous donations of sponsors and participants, meant that the organization could, in 2014, buy a new Martin 16 sailboat for their special program, among other things.
Flaherty added, “There is a long and noble nautical tradition dedicated to helping those on the water, and our goal in 2015 is to build on the success of the last two years. Our motivation is simple: we want to do even more to help these brave and determined sailors.”
Sperry Top-Sider came forward last year as lead sponsor for the day’s festivities while McAuslan Brewery continues to sponsor the event’s now-annual McAuslan Cup Pursuit Race as it has done
“We are extremely grateful to our sponsors,” said Flaherty. “And the pursuit race, which will include mobility-impaired sailors, is nothing short of riveting to watch and exhilarating to sail in. It’s incredibly exciting for everyone.”
In addition to offering the chance to race for the McAuslan Cup, other participants in the day can enjoy a luxury afternoon yacht cruise on Lake St-Louis.
Flaherty explained. “Even if you’re not a sailor you can still take part in our event by booking a tour on one of our luxury cruisers for the afternoon. It’s always extremely popular, and this year promises to be even better.”
Called Cruise for the Cause, luxury yachts are offering 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 the perfect way to show your support for AQVA and the sailors with disabilities they represent so well.”
The day’s festivities will also include a dinner dance featuring live music with the Ben Racine Band, and free beer. There will also be a Silent Auction featuring, among other things, Carey Price autographed items and Montreal Canadiens hockey tickets.
Participants can register a boat ($250*) or reserve a cruise ($50* per person). Participants and friends may take part in the dinner dance ($28.50 per person) and the Silent Auction in the evening, starting at 5 p.m. in the dining room of The Royal St-Lawrence Yacht Club (1350 Chemin Bord du Lac, Dorval, QC H9S 2E3). *A tax receipt will be provided for each donation.
“We are thrilled to bring the Sperry Challenge back for the third year in a row in support of the gutsiest sailors you or I will ever know,” said Flaherty. “The cause is fantastic and the day will be fun and exciting. So save the date and participate!”
For more information contact: Patrick Flaherty (450 458-5810)
To enter a sailboat in the pursuit race:
To reserve a luxury cruise: www.aqvaqc.com/en/Sperry-Top-Sider-Challenge/Cruise-for-the-Cause
For more information: www.aqvaqc.com