North American Challenge Cup for disabled adults

Published on July 31st, 2014

Chicago, IL (July 31, 2014) – The Chicago Yacht Club’s North American Challenge Cup (NACC), will be held at Belmont Harbor from Aug. 1 through Aug. 4, 2014. The NACC begins with a pre-race clinic on Friday, conducted by US Sailing/Sperry Topsider Paralympic coach Betsy Alison, followed by three days of competitive sailboat racing.

“This event is one of the premier disabled sailing regattas, and counts as one of the longest running events in the North American disabled sailing circuit,” said Ann L. Rundle, chairwoman of the NACC. “Years before sailing was included as a Paralympic sport, the Chicago Yacht Club created the NACC in 1992 as a major disabled sailing regatta, bringing together disabled sailors from around the country.”

This year the NACC will feature two classes of sailboats, the Freedom 20 class and the Sonar class. The Freedom 20 class, a disabled class boat sailed by 2-persons with one able body for assist, is the class of boat that has raced in the NACC regatta since the first event was held at the Chicago Yacht Club. The Sonar class, a three-person Paralympics class boat, has been raced in the NACC since 2007.

There will be five teams competing in the Freedom 20 class, including the winning 2013 team of Ken Kelly and Bob Jones hoping to win for the third time in a row, having also won this class in 2012 and 2010. There will be a number of local Chicagoans racing in the Freedom 20 class to give Ken and Bob a run for their money. Local Chicago sailors who have competed in past NACC regattas are Zak Kordik and Gary Pierce, who will be racing together for their third year, and Bonnie Everhart and Dan Daniher, who will be racing together again for their second year. New this year to the NACC will be Morristown, NJ sailor Ashley Lauren Fisher, with Tony Sanperre (St. Croix) as crew, and local junior sailor Barbara Gainska with Larry Campbell, a frequent competitor at the NACC as her crew.

There will be six teams racing in the Sonar class, with a mix of local Chicagoan as well as competitors from as far as Sweden. The local Chicago team of Patrick LoDuca, Chris Martin and Ralph Brooks will be competing for their third year. New this year to the Sonar class, but a frequent competitor at the NACC is local Chicagoan Bridget Bodo with her crew of local sailor Rick Rundle and an import from Cleveland Mouad Yousef. Coming all the way from Boras, Sweden, Patrik Norstrom will be competing in the NACC for the first time, with local Chicagoans as his crew.

New this year to the NACC will be three teams from the Warrior Sailing Program. The Warrior Sailing Program is focused on introducing active military and veterans with disabilities to sailing, learning to sail and basic sailboat racing. They will be conducting a two-day Sailing Boot Camp as the guests of Chicago Yacht Club just prior to the NACC regatta. The Warrior Sailing Program teams competing in the NACC includes local Chicagoan RJ Anderson, as well as Kathy Champion, Scott Ford, Steven Hammer, Chris Livesay, and Sgt AK. They will be supported by coaches Lee Icyda and Ben Poucher.

The NACC event has had a long history of very generous sponsors who continue to support this event over the past 20 years. This year the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation was named as co-hosts along with Chicago Yacht Club. The Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, which provides the sailboats for the competitors, as well as the on the water support staff and equipment Cook-Illinois Corp is providing the sailors with bus transportation throughout the four-day event, plus transit both to and from the airport for a total of six days of bus service, which is a tremendous level of support. The Chicago Yacht Club Foundation is another key sponsor for the event. Additional sponsors for this year’s NACC regatta are: White Lodging Hotels, Chicago Match Race Center, Chicago Park District, Carol’s Cookies, Weather Routing, Inc. and Crowley’s Yacht Yard.

About Chicago Yacht Club
The Chicago Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most respected yacht clubs in the world. Today, the club boasts a membership of nearly 1,500 boating enthusiasts and is one of the preeminent organizers of regattas, races and predicted-log events in the United States. The club offers an array of spectacular off-the-water amenities, including fine dining and full-service catering at both its Monroe and Belmont stations. “A tradition of yachting excellence” is a fitting description of a club that has dedicated itself to promoting the sport and perpetuating the values of camaraderie and community since 1875. Learn more at

Source: Susan Kantor, Chicago Yacht Club

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