Everhart-Skeels, Walker win Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta

Published on June 3rd, 2013

Sarah Everhart-Skeels and Cindy Walker edge out Duane Farrar and Maureen McKinnon in the 5th Annual Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta.

Tied for first-place after 12 races, Sarah Everhart-Skeels, Cindy Walker and Brian Skeels overcame Duane Farrar, the Gold Medal Paralympian Maureen McKinnon and Sol Marini based on their five bullets compared to Farrar and McKinnon’s four. Sarah noted “The competition was really good, especially Duane’s team. This regatta is what we need to build our community of adaptive sailors. No one can compare with American Yacht Club (Rye, NY) and Larchmont Yacht Club (Larchmont, NY); they always do a great job.”

The regatta for sailors with disabilities was held at American YC and co-hosted by Larchmont YC May 31-June 2.

Duane Farrar, a sailor who was one of the increasing numbers of blind racers, agreed, “It’s a great experience to enjoy the company of other disabled sailors. I’ll now be energized for the rest of the year. Can’t do any better than this.”

Carl Olsson of Larchmont YC, a seasoned sailor and last year’s Robie Pierce Regatta winner, and Susan King took third place, with Jennifer French and Laura Schwanger taking 4th. Jen, the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, took 1st place in the Robie Pierce Women’s Invitational held May 30.

An additional highlight was Jen French’s inspirational speech to the AYC membership and regatta participants before dinner on Saturday. She explained the series of abdominal implants she has had since her 1998 snowboarding accident left her a quadriplegic have helped her stand and function better. These operations have enabled her to walk down the aisle at her wedding and helped her win the Silver Medal at the Paralympics in London last summer. Her experiences were the basis of her book “On My Feet Again,” which she autographed for attendees.

The weather was perfect for this 5th Robie Pierce Regatta—warm, with a SSW wind of 7-13 knots and low humidity. Bill Sandberg, PRO, said that “Everyone’s performance kept getting better, which is one of our main goals.” Kris Scheppe, a first-time competitor and blind sailor, happily said, “We did better in each race, so I only wish we had another day to race.” Part of the reason for the racers’ improvement was Betsy Alison, 5-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and the US Sailing Paralympic Coach, who led on the water coaching and held a debriefing each day.

The number of competitors increased by about 40% this year. There were also six first-time competitors as well as five family teams and six veterans. One of them, Vivian Snyder, who broke her back serving with the Army in Iraq and suffers the effects of PTSD, said, “When I joined BAADS (Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors in San Francisco), it was the first time I had gotten off the couch in a year. As a veteran, I love this regatta, and for the first time since before my last tour I feel pure joy in my heart.” For her spirit, she was given the “Best Newbie Award.”

After the awards were given out, Duncan Hennes, Past Commodore of American Yacht Club, and Rob Snedeker, Commodore of Larchmont Yacht Club, announced that the Robie Pierce Regatta would be making a donation to BAADS to help them replace equipment that was recently stolen.

Siobhan Reilly, Event Co-Chair, American Yacht Club, concluded that “Everything about this regatta was good: good weather, good racing, good friends, good party, and a good turnout. We’re excited to race at Larchmont next year, so spread the good word to your friends.” She also thanked Buttons Padin of Larchmont Yacht Club, an Event Co-Chair and his boat preparation team for a great job.

No regatta can be successful without a large group of sponsors, and special thanks go to Heineken USA, a major supporter since the beginning; Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; and Lucerne Capital Management. New additions are major sponsor Subaru Distributors Corp, Magnum Bars, Gill USA, Thomas Bates Accessories, NASDAQ OMX and the Sailing Foundation of NY.

Click here for results.

Contact: Jan Hodnett, 914-261-0752

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