The WaterFront Center hosted the first Clagett/Oakcliff Match Race and Clinic for sailors with adaptive needs over the weekend of July 16th. 24 sailors comprising eight teams from Puerto Rico to Canada with a range of experiences in fleet came to try out match racing. One skipper, Jen French, was a silver medalist in the 2008 Paralympics and another, Sarah Everhart-Skeels, just missed a berth at this year’s Paralympics in Rio. Unlike most Paralympic races, this event had no classification system for disabilities, and an able-bodied sailor was allowed in each boat – although not all had an “AB” as crew. Dave Perry, 5-time US Match Racing Champion and author of “Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing,” ran a match-racing clinic on Saturday. It began with a classroom session and was followed by practice on the water. He noted that “the participants were eager to learn this new form of competition and as overwhelmed as anyone absorbing so much new information. Although they each had different ways of making the Sonars work, they were all good sailors with exceptional attitudes.” This event was a collaboration of several organizations coordinated by Timmy Larr who is on the national faculty of US Sailing and has been a life-long and prodigious contributor to the sailing world. She is also on the board of the Clagett Regatta. Oakcliff Sailing provided the Race Committee and a barbecue on Saturday night at their facility in Oyster Bay. Bill Simon, Race Program Director, coordinated on-the-water activities, provided mark boats, etc and recruited Dave Perry. “The Clagett” (C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta) advertised through their network of disabled sailors, organized registration, and provided volunteers and scholarships. Judy Clagett McClennan, co-founder, President and Chair of the Clagett Regatta was on hand to help with organization. The Clagett Regatta donated the base of a Hoyer lift to the WFC and use of their hoist for the rest of this sailing season. The WaterFront Center provided the venue, six Sonars, three mark/coach boats, staff support, the welcoming barbecue on Friday night and amenities during the three days. Gene Hinkel from the Warrior Sailing Program supplied and installed equipment such as railings, sliding seats and a puff-and-sip steering mechanism to adapt the Sonars to the needs of sailors with a range of disabilities. SailAhead provided safety for the regatta and clinic by providing a boat, a safety swimmer, nurse and medical support. Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club provided two Sonars and a spectator boat. Practice on Friday and Saturday and racing on Sunday were challenging as the sun beat down, creating stifling heat and little shifty wind. Everyone rose to the occasion however, and the race committee managed to get in enough races for a good regatta on Sunday. Socializing under the tent at the WFC throughout the weekend and at the dinner at Oakcliff on Saturday night were also highlights of this very successful event. Final results: 1 – Jen French, (St. Petersburg, FL) 2 – Julio Reguero, (San Juan, Puerto Rico) 3 – Charlie Rosenfield, (Woodstock, CT) 4* – Sarah Everhart Skeels, (Tiverton, RI) 4* – Andy Fisher, (Greenwich, CT) 6 – Dan Evans, (St. Petersburg, FL) 7 – Pauline Dowell, (Charlestown, MA) 8 – Dave Whalen, (Lake George, NY) * = unbreakable tie Judy McClennan, the president of the board of the Clagett Regatta sent the following note to the organizers: ‘I was so impressed with the level of talent being SO high and the positive unselfish contributions from all involved that made this entire experience for me one of the most impressive ventures I have ever been involved with.’ The WFC is grateful for the efforts of staff, volunteers and the partner organizations that made this first match-racing event for sailors with disabilities rewarding for all. We look forward to hosting it again next year!