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Clagett: North America’s premier event for sailors with disabilities

Published on April 14th, 2014

Sail Newport at Fort Adams State Park in Newport RI, will again host the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta on June 12-15, 2014.

Founded in 2002, the event 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.

Mark Bryant from Estero, Florida was the first entry for the 2014 edition. Bryant, a first time sailor to the Clagett, will be racing in the 2.4mR class. Prior to racing the 2.4mR, Bryant was a force in the Lightning and J/24 classes on Lake Erie in Buffalo, NY. But when he was diagnosed with MS, he turned his attention to disabled sailing and competitive racing in the 2.4mR.

In 2007, Bryant was actively campaigning towards representing the USA at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and lost the place by one point. Bryant has since worked as a coach with Clagett 2.4mR class alumni Mark LeBlanc and Julio Reguero.

“Since my recent retirement, I’ve decided this year I will be a participant in the Clagett rather than watching from the sidelines as I have done in the past. I am coming up from Florida with the current 2.4mR boat builder Tony Pocklington, an able bodied 2.4mR sailor and I plan on making a comeback in 2.4mR racing,” said Bryant.

“As the previous boat builder of the 2.4mR, I have had to miss this event due to being occupied with building rather than sailing at the time of year the event has been held. I’m really looking forward to getting back on the water and being involved with this very important event and in a class I really enjoy sailing in”. Bryant plans to go on to the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) Combined World Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia on August 16-24.

The event includes all three boats that have been chosen as the equipment of the Paralympic classes: the three-person Sonar, the two-person SKUD-18 and the singlehanded 2.4 Metre (mR). An international line up of coaches will be working with competitors during both the clinic and regatta. Betsy Alison (Newport, RI) will be joined by Craig Guthrie (Minot, ND), Marko Dahlberg (Ylojarvi, Finland), Mike Ingham (Rochester, NY) and Mike Pinckney (Balboa, CA) as the coaching team for this year’s event.

Event details: www.clagettregatta.org

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