Bringing Together Disabled Sailors

Published on August 3rd, 2015

Chicago, IL (August 3, 2015) – Chicago Yacht Club’s North American Challenge Cup (Aug 1-3) ran its final day off Belmont Harbor in shifty winds of 8-12 knots off of Belmont Harbor. After having to cancel racing on Sunday (Aug 2) due to high winds, organizers today were able to complete four races in the Freedom 20 and Sonar fleets.

In the Freedom 20, Ken Kelly and Robert Jones went into today a mere two points behind Bonnie Everhart and Maurice Daniher. “Part of our strategy was to keep an eye on the first boat,” Kelly said. “The objective was to stay ahead of [Everhart] for two races, knowing that we needed first place in one of those races to tie with her.”

Ultimately the last two races went their way with two first place finishes, leading Kelly to take first overall for the Freedom Fleet for the sixth time. When asked if any particular moments led to his crew’s success this year, Kelly added, “There were two, and both were about recognizing a wind pattern change: and being able to act on that before anybody else in the fleet.”

Bridget Bodo dominated the Sonar Fleet with two bullets and a new crew. “This year I went in shooting for first with a whole new crew, and I finally did it,” Bodo says. She attributed her win to two key factors that helped her build on her second place finish last year. “In addition to positivity, communication is everything,” she says. “I’m all about everybody giving perspectives and contributing out there.” Bodo was racing with William Howard and Brian Peebles; Peebles had a total of three days experience prior to the NACC.

Also new to the regatta experience was Elizier Arroyo with the Warrior Sailing Program. Arroyo started sailing in May and came into NACC as a skipper. “The first day was shocking, but after the first couple races, my confidence skyrocketed,” Arroyo explained. After an injury two years ago, he did not believe that being active like this was possible. “The biggest takeaway of the event is that I can show pictures of me racing to my kids, and explain to them that there are no limits.” Arroyo was also awarded the Marcy Gorov Memorial Rookie of the Year Trophy along with Peebles.

Full results are posted at

Report by Morgan Kinney, Chicago Yacht Club

Background: In 1992 the Chicago Yacht Club created the North American Challenge Cup as a major disabled sailing regatta, bringing together disabled sailors from around the country. This event counts as one of the longest running events in the North American disabled sailing circuit. The NACC has a reputation for outstanding competition on a national and international level.

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