On Saturday Jan. 26, 2013, the Bay AreaAssociation of Disabled Sailors (BAADS) hosted a regatta in McCovey Cove in San Francisco, next to the SF Giants ballpark, with Oracle Team USA sailors Brian “Puck” MacInnes and Sam Newton.
Sailed in Access Liberty and Access 303 dinghies, the purpose of the event was to raise awareness of sailing as an inclusive sport. The Access boats are designed for use by sailors with disablities, with all sail controls modified to fit the needs of individual sailors.
At the event Fernanda Castelo, BAADS member and event coordinator along with fellow member, Carwile Leroy said, “We are honored and thrilled to welcome Brian MacInnes and Sam Newton from Oracle Team USA, the hometown team defending the 34th America’s Cup, to our humble club to sail with us on our Access Class sailboats…It is exciting, fun, and educational sailing, and we are thrilled that [they] are able to enjoy a day on the Bay with our members and volunteers.”
A skippers meeting commenced at 11a.m. on the dock with an introduction and welcome to MacInnes, Newton, and his guest, Elizabeth Marsh, who also sailed in the regatta, which incorporated US Sailing race policies. Race Chair and BAADS volunteer, Rommel Barrientos, along with South Beach Yacht Club (SBYC) members were the race committee. The sailors docked off at noon, followed by spectator and chase boats.
The fleet of nine Access Liberty and six Access 303 boats raced in McCovey Cove. Team Oracle's America's Cup crewman Brain MacInnes sailed with BAADS member Margreta von Pein in a 303, and Sam Newton sailed a Liberty. Marsh crewed on a 303 with BAADS member Kevin Siemens.
The races began in 15 knots of breeze, which built to 20 knots by race two, and up to 25 knots by race three, which made it a wet and wild event, causing some boats to return to dock because of the conditions, a common problem for all sailors on San Francisco bay at times.
MacInnes joined BAADS members and volunteers at SBYC after the regatta for a Q&A.
Maria Papadopoulous-Moustakis, owner of The Java House Restaurant at Pier 40 and friend of BAADS, said of the regatta, “I thought it was just what we needed. It was inspiring for BAADS and for the rest of us. It was nice to see Oracle Team come down and show that they are also a part of our community."
With its home at nearby South Beach Yacht Club, BAADS is a 501(c) 3 organization that seeks to make all aspects of sailing accessible. It provides sailing and race programs on keelboats and small boats to people with all types of disabilities.
The 100+ members, all ranging from novice to experts, sail with a crew or by themselves on boats rigged with adaptive features to aid in sailing. Most of the members are accomplished sailors who have participated and placed in both national and international regattas.
For further information on the BAADS programs, contact: www.baads.org
Thanks to Christina Kho, who contributed to this article.