This year, the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta has awarded two Canadians and U.S. sailing program boats through their Clagett Boat Grant Program.
“We are thrilled that through the fundraising efforts for the Clagett Boat Grant Program we are able to award 2.4mR boats to sailors in the US and in Canada,” said Clagett President and Co-Founder Judy Clagett McLennan. “It is important that adaptive sailors are supported in their important endeavors and through this program. We at The Clagett are able to provide opportunities to sailors to pursue their individual goals in sailing.”
Receiving boats will be two Canadians: Wendy Frazier from Calgary, Alberta and Siobhan MacDonald from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Challenged Sailors San Diego program from San Deigo, California will also receive a boat.
Wendy Frazier learned to sail in 2013 in a 2.4mR through a learn to sail camp in Victoria, British Columbia after being encouraged by disabled sailor Dale Keith, a member of Disabled Sailing Association of Alberta. Three weeks after this camp she competed in the Mobility Cup and placed sixth out of a 20 boat fleet and “has been hooked on sailing since then.”
“First, even though I am passionate about sailing, being selected for the Clagett Boat Grant has heightened this passion and commitment,” said Frazier, who has a sporting background as a curler. “I am very honoured for this recognition. I am quite excited that I will have to opportunity to increase the amount of sailing I have been able to do by having a boat. I am hoping that some day I would to be named to Team Canada.
“On top of working to bring disabled racing back to Alberta, I plan on attending the Clagett Regatta, 2.4mR regattas through the CanAms and potentially Worlds. I believe getting exposure will help promote programs in Alberta and attract people with disabilities to para-sport.”
Siobhan MacDonald from Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been a Clagett sailor for a number of years in the 2.4mR class, having been introduced to the boat by a Canadian 2.4mR Paralympic Gold medalist Paul Tingley.
When asked what receiving the boat means to her she replied, “To me, receiving the Clagett boat means experiencing the level of support I received from staff and competitors at my first regatta 10 times over. I now have the opportunity to improve my tactics and strategy skills on the water.
“I felt, along with other coaches and competitors, that my previous boat was holding me back from getting the results I wanted. This is an incredible example to what the sport of para sailing is all about. I am extremely grateful to all that Clagett has done for me and I hope to make them all proud!”
The boat that will be going to the West Coast in the US will be utilized by the Challenged Sailors San Diego program in California, which was formed in 2015.
Kevin Wixom, president of Challenged Sailors San Diego, attended the first Clagett Regatta held in Newport, where he earned the Sportsmanship award. The program currently has a fleet Martin 16’s which are used weekly and the addition of the 2.4mR will provide the program with a boat that will help train the sailors and allow them to travel to regattas to race the boat.
“It is an incredible opportunity for CSSD to improve its racing skills, and motivate our sailors to improve,” said Wixom. “It will also allow CSSD to show the San Diego community that we are growing and expanding.”
These boats will bring the total of boats that have been granted through the Clagett Boat Grant Program to six over the three years it has been operating.
In 2017, Shaylagh Ley from Nepean, Ontario received a 2.4mR boat from The Clagett Boat Grant Program and will be sharing the boat with a fellow Nepean Sailing Club member, Brian Peckover. Peckover, who prior to his military service raced catamarans as a youth, spoke about being a recipient of the program.
“In the coming year, I will be getting acquainted with the 2.4mR,” said Peckover. “Expect to see me on the sailing circuit. My long term goal is to qualify for the Special Olympics and perform to the best of my ability. Once I gain some useful experience, I hope to assist other sailors on their journey.”
Founded in 2003, the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta honors the late Tom Clagett (1916-2001), a U.S. Navy World War II veteran who learned to sail on Chesapeake Bay. As a youngster he suffered temporary paralysis as the result of a bout of meningitis; an experience that left him with a deep respect for the accomplishments of people with disabilities. The Clagett’s stated mission is “to assist sailors in realizing their potential on the water by providing them both the knowledge and tools to improve their skills and the opportunity to use these skills in competition”. Tom Clagett’s motto was “Reach for Success”, which resonates with every Clagett participant. Clagett competitors have seen medal success at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games. Competitors often comment that, The Clagett, has improved their quality of life as they apply what is achieved on the water to everyday situations.