Cruising & Sailing Information

Yacht Competition Racing for the Disabled Takes Off!

Yacht racing, though it may seem like "a breeze" to spectators (to turn a phrase), is really a lot more complicated than it looks. Anyone who's ever been involved in a "backyard regatta" or a world-class yacht race will tell you: This is a sport that requires very savvy technical skills and a strategic mind. Still think anyone can do it? Just ask anyone who's served as a crew member in a yacht-racing adventure catered to the disabled. Here's a guarantee: They'll look at you like you're crazy.

Races are always set along a designated course, and are usually sponsored by a Disabled Sailors association (which can be found in most of our United States and abroad). Usually, men's and women's teams compete separately, and boats can range from Olympic-class dinghies to basic, modern fiberglass-planing dinghies. In fact, this sport has been internationally recognized since 1976, when it was featured in the Montreal Olympics.

As with any sport, volunteers are always needed for upcoming events. For example, the St. Francis Yacht Club will host the upcoming 470 Class North American Races in the San Francisco Bay area in mid- to late August. This race is just one of many taking place all across the United States, solely for disabled racers, and they'll need skippers and deck hands to help get the action going.

Usually, the schedule of events covers completing entry forms, yacht measurement, a festive "opening ceremony," often accompanied with music, light Hor devours and champagne; and on each race day, sailors will enjoy a continental breakfast in the morning and a fun-filled evening of food and drinks following the race.

The Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS), like most, allows every participant to solicit foundation or corporate sponsorships, and again, many positions are available, from one of the most important sailing races Association and the United States 470

And, no matter who wins, the closing ceremonies are nothing to sneeze at. You'll be entertained, wined, and dined while enjoying the sounds of a great jazz or blues band, commemorating the event's end. Another plus is that, for this race and many others throughout the country, you can qualify for an Olympic race - if you're the lucky winner, that is.

David Dunlap is the owner and founder of Only For Yachts, an online resource for everything related to yachts. Visit to get information on yacht charters, yachts for sale and also sign up for the free yachting newsletter.


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