Disabled sailors compete for national title

Disabled sailors compete for national title

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The McKinley Marina had visitors from all over North America during the 2013 Disabled Sailing Championship Sept. 5-8.

Sixteen competitors in 11 boats vied for the national title during the four-day regatta hosted by the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. This is the first time the annual event has come to the Midwest.  

Sailors with disabilities including paraplegia, polio, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis sailed in boats custom designed to meet the needs of his or her disability.

Ryan Porteous of San Diego, Calif., is paralyzed from the waist down with no hand grip, but uses push rods instead of holding on to a tiller to steer.

“They have to add a couple modifications to keep me in the boat and help me out of the boat, but other than that it’s the exact same sport and the same level of competitiveness,” Porteous said.  

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center has a strong disabled sailing program but sought help from the Milwaukee yacht clubs to host the racing event.

“It all came together and became a true community effort,” said Margaret Jaberg, CEO of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center.

For more information listen to the podcast or visit www.sailingcenter.org.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee