The third annual Robie Pierce One-Design Disabled Regatta will be hosted by American Yacht Club (AYC), in partnership with Larchmont Yacht Club. Spanning the three days from May 19th to May 22nd, AYC will be the site of the battle of the champions for an expected 25 - 30 crews of disabled sailors.
There are planned seminars for Friday on Local Sailing Knowledge and by UK Halsey Sailmakers and Doyle Sails followed by clinic/practice race day. Race days for Saturday and Sunday are scheduled. We even heard a rumour that Robie himself will be in an Ideal 18 ready to go! The participants will enjoy the welcoming hospitality of the American Yacht Club members and staff. Heineken will supply the beer, Vineyard Vines the shirts, Yacht Scoring the registration, Ben & Jerry's the ice cream and Mercedes the cars...to look at and test drive.
On Thursday, May 19th, will be the Inaugural Robie Pierce Women's Invitational One-Design Regatta. This event sponsored by Beirn bags will invite all-women crew to race for the day in our specially adapted Ideal 18s. This is a unique event within the disabled sailing community and one that was requested by women participants in last year's Robie Pierce Regatta. We are expecting 10 - 15 boats on the line for this amazing new regatta! Robie Pierce has been a driving force in National and International disabled sailing for nearly 20 years. A life-long sailor prior to his 1985 diagnosis with MS was Robie's impetus to share his sailing experience with the disabled community.
He developed the Shake-A-Leg Sailing program in his homeport of Newport, RI into a world renowned facility with a variety of programs from recreational sailing to co-hosting world championships.
Robie recruited disabled sailors throughout North America for the first USSA Independence Cup in 1991. He collaborated for the first America's Cup for Sailors with Disabilities in San Diego in 1992. Robie was a guiding light in securing sailing as a medal sport in the Sonar for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics.
It has not been all work. Robie and his team have won three US Independence Cups, the 1993 World IFDS Disabled Championship and 1994 Japan Match Race Cup. He served as chairman of US Sailing's Sailors with Special Needs 1992-1996 and represented USA as an executive board member of IFDS 1998-2002.