For Immediate Release
Sail Cape Cod Expands Its Adaptive Sailing Program
Hyannis, MA - Sail Cape Cod, a non-profit Community Sailing Program, is expanding its Adaptive Sailing Program this summer to include individuals with physical disabilities. The program, aptly named ‘SeaLegs’, will allow greater access to sailing for those who otherwise would not be able to enjoy the sport due to physical barriers.
“Since its inception, Sail Cape Cod has partnered with local disabilities organizations to make sailing accessible to those with developmental or intellectual challenges. With the recent addition of a new adaptive sailboat, Sail Cape Cod will now be able to offer the therapeutic and recreational benefits of sailing to those with physical challenges as well”, according to Program Director Bryony Scudder. “This will be the first fully integrated adaptive sailing program on Cape Cod, and will include our youth, adults and service veterans alike”.
Thanks to generous funding from the Lyndon Paul Lorusso Charitable Foundation, Sail Cape Cod has acquired a new 18’ keelboat which will be outfitted with equipment specially designed to accommodate sailors with physical disabilities. Sturgis Boat Works in West Yarmouth is handling the design and installation of this customized adaptive equipment onto one of their new Fareast 18 sailboats. “This sailboat is a very stable platform which will be retrofitted with adaptive seating fore and aft, strategically placed handrails, custom-made sails and enhanced sail trim capabilities to empower sailors with physical challenges to skipper this boat themselves”, said owner Matt Wake. The vessel will be named ‘Lila’ in honor of Lyndon’s mother.
To complement the adaptive sailboat, Sail Cape Cod has acquired a portable hoyer-style lift designed for transferring individuals from wheelchair to boat with funding from Rockland Trust, and has been installed at the Gary Brown Boat Ramp in Hyannis with the cooperation of the Town of Barnstable. Previously, there was no local access to such a dockside lift for boarding assistance.
Laurel Labdon of Brewster, a former Miss Wheelchair Massachusetts and an advocate for disability issues, is the honorary chair and spokesperson for Sail Cape Cod’s adaptive program. According to Labdon, a lifelong sailor despite her own personal challenges due to a spinal cord injury: “So many within the disabilities community don't have the opportunity to gain some freedom and independence, to learn new skills, to participate in a sport. These benefits are immeasurable in their importance. The self-esteem, confidence and feelings of accomplishment that sailing gives to anyone is multiplied infinitely for those of us with disabilities, where the options to participate in most sports is extremely limited.”
To help advance the adaptive program and its goals, Sail Cape Cod has also received funding support from: Cape Cod Foundation, Bilezikian Family Foundation, Figawi Charities, Cape Cod Five Foundation, Century Bank and the Barnstable Disabilities Commission as well as private donors.
The new adaptive sailboat will be ‘unveiled’ at a special ‘Night at the Museum’ fundraising event being held at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis on June 5th. Admission is $50 per person with proceeds to benefit Sail Cape Cod’s Adaptive and Outreach Programs which serve the local Disabilities and At-Risk Youth populations. For more information, visit their website at www.SailCapeCod.org