Disabled competition in Chicago
Published on July 20th, 2023
The 2023 Independence Cup will be held July 28-30 in Chicago, IL. Three divisions – singlehanded (2.4mR), doublehanded (Independence 20), and triplehanded (Sonar) – will hold racing for sailors with disabilities.
Among the field will be Irish Sailing Association president John Twomey who endured a bicycle crash at the age of 15 that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Twomey will compete on a Sonar and will also serve as Guest Speaker at the Independence Gala on July 28.
An Irish sailing legend, Twomey has represented Ireland at 11 consecutive Paralympic Games, winning medals at three of them. As a helmsman, he has competed in the Sonar in the 2000 Sydney Games, 2004 Athens Games, 2012 London Games, and 2016 Rio Games. He also competed in the doublehanded SKUD-18 at the 2008 Beijing Games. At the 2015 ISAF World Championships in Weymouth, his team won the bronze medal in the Sonar Class.
Twomey is the first disabled person to become president of the 20,000-member Irish Sailing Association.
The Independence Cup is hosted by the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation (JGASF), a Chicago-based non-profit organization that enables disabled adults as well as at-risk youth to learn the sport of sailing. All boats used in the Independence Cup are specially designed for disabled sailors. The boats are JGASF-owned and are available to the entrants at no cost.
In addition, out-of-town race participants are offered complimentary stays at the Palmer House Hilton, a major sponsor of JGASF. Transportation is provided by Illinois-Cook Corporation. Shirley Ryan Ability Lab volunteers are on hand for medical advice and attention during the race.
“I look forward to coming to Chicago because the Judd Goldman group is so accommodating,” says Twomey. “They have a great fleet of boats and a terrific group of volunteers.”