|Sail! Challenge! Inspire|
|Written by Web Master|
|Saturday, 12 June 2010 11:54|
Sail Challenge Inspire is what Maureen McKinnon-Tucker and other Paralympic sailors do. In 1992, Maureen was permanently paralyzed by a fall in Rockland, Maine while her husband Dan Tucker was racing J/24 sailboats. Maureen was supposed to be racing as well, but her team cancelled at the last moment. While walking her bicycle to the ferry, she tripped and fell over the edge of a seawall, landing 13 feet below in the sand at low tide.
Before her injury, Maureen was a casual racing sailor. She was more interested in the apres sail activities than taking the racing seriously. After her injury, things changed...
To say that Maureen is a strong willed individual is an understatement. While in the hospital, she was visited by her friend Duncan Gillespie, who was a medalist in the sailing demonstration in the 2000 Paralympics in Atlanta, who told her that she would be able to sail again. When she tried racing a J/24 as a paraplegic, it was too challenging. Then she tried racing Freedom 20's at Shake-A-Leg in Newport, RI. While they're great boats for daysails for people with disabilities, they were a bit too tame, and the competition wasn't as high as she was accustomed to. Maureen gave up sailing and bought a kayak.
For a few years she kayaked around her home port of Marblehead, MA and daysailed on Winsome, the C&C 25 that she and Dan have owned for years. At the 2001 Sailing World Marblehead NOOD Regatta, everything changed. She met Dr. Rick Doerr, sitting in his wheelchair on the porch of the Corinthian Yacht Club. Never one to ignore another disabled person, she asked what he was doing there. "Racing a Sonar" was his reply "You should try it". A few weeks later they were aboard his Sonar in Noroton, CT at the Sonar World Championship. Now that was more like it! A boat that she could easily get around on, in a tremendously competitive class. Rick invited her to join his campaign to represent the USA at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.
The Dream is Born
It was soon Maureen's goal to be the first woman to represent the USA in sailing at the Paralympic Games and be the first woman to win a gold medal in sailing. In the US Sailing Trials for the 2004 Paralympics, Maureen, Rick and Tim Angle finished 3rd. Since only one team goes to the Games in each class, their dream was deferred.
In the US Sailing Trials for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Bejing, China, Maureen and her teammate Nick Scandone triumphed. They won the Trials and have been named to the US Paralympic Sailing Team. The will represent the United States in the SKUD 18 person keelboat class. Maureen is the first woman to female member of the US Paralympic Sailing Team. Her goal remains to be the first woman to win a gold medal in Paralympic Sailing. That goal is within grasp.
In order to acheive that goal, Maureen and other Paralympic sailors need your financial help. Sailing is the second most expensive sport in the Olympics. Only Equestrian events, with the cost of caring for a horse, are more expenssive. The boat, the spare parts, the sails that quickly wear out, the adaptive aids... these are the obvious expenses. Not so obvious is the travel -lodging, airfare, food... Not just for the two sailors, but for the able bodied assitants that they need, as well as their coach.
Please look aroudn the website, and use the donation form on any page to lend your support, and help bing back a gold medal for the USA.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 20 December 2007 13:04|