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Southern Spars - North Technology

Jen French, Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year to race in the Robie Pierce

by Jan Hodnett on 10 May 2013
SKUD-18: Jen French and JP Creignou - Paralympics London 2012 David Staley - IFDS ©
Jen French (St. Petersburg, FL), 2012 Paralympic Silver Medalist and the first disabled women to be selected as the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year will be competing in the Robie Pierce Regattas for Disabled Sailors.

'After a long, grueling Paralympic campaign, I really look forward to this year’s event,' she said. 'This regatta is all about fun and getting new people into adaptive sailing. I wouldn’t miss this event for the world.' Jen recently released her new book: On My Feet Again: My Journey Out of the Wheelchair Using Neurotechnology. An inspiring story of how she overcame many of the obstacles she encountered after being paralyzed in a snowboarding accident.

This year’s Regattas will draw sailors from near and far: California as well as Canadian sailors from the North. In addition to Jen French, other high level competitors will include Maureen McKinnon (Boston, MA), Gold Medalist at the Qindao Paralympics in 2008; and Dr. Carl Olsson, past Commodore of Larchmont YC, who was the winner of the first US Disabled Championships in 1990. Carl’s J105 Morning Glory is a fixture at regattas around the Sound. As he says, 'it’s so much fun beating up on normies.'

The third Annual Robie Pierce Women’s Invitational and fifth annual Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta for sailors with disabilities will offer for the first time an Ideal 18 with a joystick electronic servo steering unit. This system is available to selected sailors with limited use of their hands. In addition, sailors owning their own servo steering systems will be able to contact the Committee regarding installation of their personal steering systems into the Ideal 18 they will be sailing. The electronic steering is in addition to the static adaptive seating configurations the Robie Pierce Committee has designed. For further information, contact Regatta Co-Chair Edward (Buttons) Padin, Larchmont Yacht Club epadin@padesta.com.

The Women’s Regatta, the first and only all-women’s disabled regatta will be sailed May 30 off the waters of Milton Harbor. The full Robie begins on Friday, May 31 and runs to Sunday, June 2. Entry information is available on the web at www.robiepierceonedesignregatta.com. Entry for the women’s event is free and for the full Robie it is $125/sailor, including all meals for three days as well as beer provided by the charter sponsor Heineken. Specially adapted Ideal 18s are provided free of charge to all competitors and free housing with members is also available.

For further information, contact Regatta Co-Chair Siobhan Reilly, American Yacht Club, reillyhere@optonline.net.

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