Achieving Independence Through Sailing
Published on July 25th, 2017
Ken Kelly survived a murder attempt in British Columbia. Bob Jones endured severe injuries from a car accident in Seattle. Both men lost the use of their legs from these tragic incidents.
But over the past twenty years, Bob and Ken have competed together in dozens of disabled sailing regattas throughout the world. Both were Paralympic sailors representing the United States and Canada, and this week will team up again on Lake Michigan.
It all began for them in the Freedom 20 class of boats in Chicago, IL. “Thanks to the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, we finally discovered a boat that allowed us to move comfortably and reach equipment,” says Jones. “Now, every spring we share the now familiar phrase, ‘See you in Chicago, buddy.’”
On July 27-30, nineteen boats will compete in the Independence Cup on Burnham Harbor in Chicago. Launched by the foundation, the Independence Cup is a premier regatta for sailors with disabilities. With three classes of boats offering singlehanded, doublehanded and triplehanded racing, the program’s fleet of boats – eight Sonars, eight Freedom Independence 20’s, and four 2.4 meter sailboats – are available at no cost to competitors.
The Independence Cup is held in downtown Chicago at Burnham Harbor. ADA-accessible hotel accommodations for visiting sailors, both domestic and foreign, is made courtesy of Hilton Hotels. Cook-Illinois Corp. offers complimentary accessible ground transportation vehicles for race participants. In addition, travel grants, the annual Independence Gala dinner, special Columbia Yacht Club barbecue and the awards dinner, provide a special, affordable sailing event for all interested disabled sailors.
“My father, Judd, was seventeen-years-old when he suffered a disabling bone disease,” says foundation president, Peter Goldman. “After realizing that there were few sports that he could participate in, he discovered sailing. During the next fifty-eight years he competed successfully in many races throughout the world.”
For 27 years, the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation has celebrated his legacy by helping people achieve self-esteem and independence through sailing.