Robie Pierce One Design Regatta 2017

Published on June 4th, 2017

Pauline Dowell, a blind sailor placed first in the Robie Pierce Women’s Invitational on June 1 and took first again in the Robie Pierce One Design Regatta held June 2-4 in Rye, NY.

Eighteen boats competed and eight races were held over the three days with Dowell scoring bullets in half the races. Winds on Day 1 were shifty and varied from calm to 15 knots. Winds on Day 2 were consistent at about 15 knots, which Dowell felt made it easier to sail. Light winds (5-10) prevailed on the last day.

Dowell liked Day 2 winds the best. “Winds that are consistently around 15 are the best for us. I love riding the waves and blind sailors often face the tiller so they can feel the wind better.”

Each boat is crewed by two sailors with disabilities and one able bodied sailor (AB) Dowell’s crew was Christian Thaxton and the AB was Kay van Valkenbergh.

Another sailor, Colin Smith, also commented on the challenge of the higher winds. “As long as you sail to the apparent wind and have a positive attitude, you’ll be fine.” Colin Smith lives in Vermont and has competed in every Robie since 2011.

Tilghman Logan, 15 years old, was the youngest skipper in the Regatta. He sails with his father Philip Logan, but if his father tries to take the tiller, he doesn’t like it. Despite his limited mobility, Tilghman is very adventurous. He tried skiing before sailing, but prefers sailing. He’s even sailed in Antigua. The Logan’s live in Lower Manhattan, but have a home in Oxford, MD, where they do their sailing at the Tred Avon Yacht Club.

Buttons Padin, the Robie co-chair, introduced the Logans to adaptive sailing and provided Tilghman with a special adaptive seat that was created by the regatta to fit into an Ideal 18. They have used it when they are sailing in Maryland. Philip Logan summed up the Robie by saying, “What they do here is fantastic. It’s so well organized and they’re so nice. It makes me want to get more people to come and to try to get more younger sailors to come.“

Dowell spoke enthusiastically about the Robie Pierce. “I can’t say enough good things about this regatta. They just do so much for us, that I can just sail and enjoy myself. I have also sailed with sighted people in other regattas and it takes much more energy.”

The Robie Pierce is run by a partnership between American Yacht Club and Larchmont Yacht Club. The leadership and membership of both clubs have embraced adaptive sailing through this regatta. Each year the regatta sees new participants that are new to sailing or returning to sailing since an incident. This community reaches beyond the sailors and brings in their families.

Next year is the 10th year of the Robie Pierce regatta and the co-chairs Siobhan Reilly, Buttons Padin and Bill Sandberg look forward to increasing participation.

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