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CAROLINA SAILING

Breaking Down the Barriers When you make sailing accessible to underserved populations, good things tend to happen. Jacob Raymond, a co-founder of the adaptive sailing program at the College of Charleston’s sailing center. Courtesy College of Charleston Sailing Program/

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t was just over two years ago that the light bulb clicked on for Jacob Raymond and his colleagues at the College of Charleston’s sailing center. They had agreed to host a three-day instructional clinic for military veterans. Working with Hope for Warriors, a national organization that assists veterans who have suffered physical or psychological wounds, Raymond and company hosted nearly a dozen vets aboard the center’s small fleet of J/22s. No one guessed it at the time, but this clinic was sowing the seeds for a new impactful program. “That was our first exposure to adaptive sailing programs,” recalls Raymond, himself a veteran of the war in Iraq. “After that, we realized there was a need and an opportunity for the sailing center to become more involved. So, we applied for a Pioneer Grant from US Sailing and that’s what really got our adaptive sailing program off the ground.” In Raymond’s view, those grant funds were pivotal to jump-starting a program that has since served close to 100 individuals, helping them get out on the water, learn to sail and find ways to reconnect with themselves and those around them. “That seed money enabled us to obtain another J/22,” he explains, “and pay for it to be reconfigured to accommodate a range of abilities. But our program really solidified when Kurt Oberle at High and Dry Boatworks here in Charleston came through with a really cool design for a

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cockpit bench. With the system he designed, we now have the ability to adjust the setup for the person who will be sailing the boat, taking into account their physical restrictions and their sailing ability. What’s really cool is that you don’t have to drill any holes, you simply slide the bench into the cockpit and you’re ready to go.” The adaptive sailing program that Raymond runs as the Director of Education at the sailing center is heavily reliant upon key partnerships. “We’re able to provide instructors, the boats and the necessary equipment,” Raymond explains, “but this program functions best when we work with partners such as the Warrior Sailing Program.” Early last spring, the Warrior Sailing Program orchestrated a three-day advanced racing clinic at the sailing center in which nearly two dozen individuals from across the country used its J/22s and adaptive sailing benches. And that was just one of several times over the past two years that the Warrior Sailing Program has partnered with the College of Charleston’s adaptive sailing program. More recently, the program has played host to a local organization to stage sailing events and clinics—Adaptive Expeditions. “I’ve been working closely with Joe Moore, who started and runs Adaptive Expeditions,” says Raymond. “Over the past year, we’ve hosted nine different learn-to-sail clinics with some 15 participants. We also got a number of those people out racing in the local Wednesday evening series

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Southwinds January 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...

Southwinds January 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...