Monday, September 19, 2011

Mobility Cup 2011 – Royal Hamilton Yacht Club


Toby Bryant competing in PCYC's latest acquistion, a 2.4mR.

Thanks a bunch Jenn Davey for keeping us up to date on the action in this fleet. - Ralph

The 21st Annual Mobility Cup drew to a close on Friday September 3rd in Hamilton, ON after a week of great winds and fantastic competition.

The event, co-hosted by the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club with the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, included 5 days of racing for the Martin 16 fleet and the Access Liberties. Over 60 sailors with disabilities from Canada, the US, Australia, the Netherlands, and the UK participated. 

AQVA came out of the event with their strongest performance to date, with the 4 PCYC/AQVA sailors sweeping the top 4 places in Gold Fleet (in fact, after the first day of racing, two AQVA racers were tied for 3rd – meaning 4 AQVA sailors in the top 3!).

Pierre Richard capped off a strong season finishing with 10 points after 8 races to clinch first overall. Team mate Marc Villeneuve was in fact in the lead going into the last day, but Pierre finished the event with two commanding bullets to sneak 2 points ahead on the final scoresheet. After a winning the Mobility Silver Fleet last year, Hafsa Chaar, in her first full season in Gold, took 3rd place while AQVA founder and veteran René Dallaire sipped and puffed his way to 4th, also taking the Sam Sullivan Trophy for top-placing Sip n’ Puff sailor. AQVA did not send any Silver participants this year, but several new Learn to Sail graduates are chomping at the bit for next season!

Off the water, AQVA’s strong support did not go unnoticed. Paula Stone, who once again coordinated the docks, transfers and companions, was awarded the Graham Alvey Memorial Award, given annually to the person who ‘has pushed the boundaries to support, encourage and inspire people with disabilities to participate in sailing’. She received her award to resounding applause from sailors and fellow volunteers alike.

Congratulations also to Matt Palardy, AQVA’s team leader for the event who not only assisted and coached 4 AQVA sailors to an excellent regatta, but also transferred, companioned and encouraged countless more sailors from other clubs as well. To the relief of many sailors, he also came to the rescue more than once when assistive electronics failed or were fussy – we knew your studies in electrical engineering would come in handy for something!

2.4mR North American Championship
Held as a separate event to the Mobility Cup, but at the same time and also at RHYC, was the 2.4mR North Americans. An “open” event – meaning sailors with or without disabilities may participate – the championship drew 16 competitors with a variety of abilities and from a variety of backgrounds, including PCYC’s own Toby Bryant. Sailing AQVA’s newly acquired club 2.4mR Abyssinia, Toby finished a strong 5th on the heels of Canadian and US national team members and Paralympians.
Toby, who also helped the Mobility racers by towing a Martin to the event, said he hopes to learn the 2.4mR better in order to help build the fleet at PCYC and coach AQVA athletes new to the boat. His ongoing help and enthusiasm over the years - and now in this new capacity - is hugely appreciated by the AQVA sailors and fellow volunteers who look forward to the injection of his expertise into our burgeoning 2.4mR program. Thanks Toby!