While the sailing rock stars may still get the spotlight, it's the small, regional programs started by community advocates.
In February 2022, US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing, honored individuals and organizations in the areas of Adaptive Sailing, Community Sailing, Training and Education, and Coaching Excellence.
"[W]e are honoring the service and accomplishments of the individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to sailing in 2021," says Rich Jepsen, President, US Sailing Board of Directors. "These awards recognize those who have improved our sport, the lives of sailors, and made sailing more accessible for all."
Top honors in Adaptive Sailing went to the Wayzata Adaptive Sailing program at the Wayzata Community Sailing Center in Minnesota, which received the Robie Pierce Award for Adaptive Sailing Programming; and Ernest Brody, who retrofits Sonars to accommodate all sailors for the program, received the Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy.
Wayzata Sailing is one of just 35 US Sailing Accredited Community Sailing Centers in the United States, is Minnesota's hub for instructor certification, and continues to create new opportunities in STEM (education that integrates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and sailing progression. Founded 11 years ago, the program has seen more than 300 participants, providing a safe, enjoyable environment for people of all ages with cognitive disabilities and or physical special needs and includes access for veterans. Their equipment has been modified to accommodate physical limitations and their accompanying sailors/staff are highly skilled at sailing and assisting challenged individuals. Their training and sailing experiences are provided either free or at low cost and ensure that anyone can experience the pleasure of feeling the wind and water interact with a sailboat.
Read about the winners and some of the good work they've done in their own home waters to welcome more sailors to the sport.