Clagett: On a mission to assist people with disabilities

Published on June 6th, 2014

The 12th C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta has attracted twenty 2.4mR’s, three SKUD 18’s and seven Sonar’s for the four day event in Newport RI. The high number of entries is an indication of the popularity of this event on the summer calendar for disabled sailing in North America.

Sailors representing Canada, the US Virgin Islands and across the USA from Florida to California and Illinois will take part in the clinic portion of the event takes on June 12 and the racing on Narragansett Bay, on June 13 through 15.

Steve Hammer from Riverview, Florida had never sailed competitively before he took part in the Wounded Warrior sailing camp in St Petersburg, Florida earlier this year. Hammer, a veteran of the US military, attended the USSOCOM camp which was run by Clagett head coach and US Sailing Paralympic coach Betsy Alison (Newport, RI) who along with US Sailing Paralympian and medalist Jen French (St Petersburg, FL) conducted the sailing course for Wounded Warriors through the Military Adaptive Sports Program.

“I found out about the camp from the SOCOM – Special Operations Command’s Care Coalition. Sailing competitively was amazing and made me feel empowered. Without the camp I would not have entered the Clagett regatta; the camp coach Betsy Alison gave me the regatta information and she recommended the 2.4 mR boat, which I have never sailed,” remarked Hammer prior to heading to Newport for his first Clagett regatta.

He continued, “I just want to get active again and really enjoy the competition. The camp was really amazing; it was very intense, which is good as military members excel in intense situations. If I was to qualify for the disabled sailing program I would love to represent our country in sailing.”

Hammer will sail the 2.4mR at the Clagett and will get to experience all that the Clagett offers with the clinic, being coached by world class coaches with top level race management and racing on the world renowned waters of Newport RI. Coaches at the Clagett are available to competitors for the entire four days and work with sailors both on and off the water to improve skills and provide advice on racing and sailing skills and techniques. Alison has been involved with the Clagett since it began and has assembled a top level coaching line up again for 2014.

“To be able to bring a Wounded Warrior sailing camp participant to the Clagett and help them to benefit from all that Clagett has to offer is a honor,” commented Alison.

Competitors and boats taking part in the Clagett will be hosted by Sail Newport at the Alofsin Pier at Fort Adams State Park in Newport RI.

About the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic & Regatta:

Founded in 2002, 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 young man 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” and it is these words the Clagett strives towards every year it is held.

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). Clagett competitors have seen medal success at the 2008 and 2012 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.

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