Sam Newton, Oracle Team USA at BAADS San Francisco - January 2013
The Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS) hosted a friendly regatta with Oracle Team USA sailors Brian “Puck” MacInnes and Sam Newton on Saturday, January 26 in San Francisco’s McCovey Cove to raise awareness of sailing as an inclusive sport. Colorful Access Liberty and 303 boats lined the BAADS dock at Pier 40 ready to set sail, while dozens of the organization’s members and volunteers gathered in and around the area buzzing with excitement and last minute to-dos before the arrival of their special guests.
“We are honored and thrilled to welcome Brian MacInnes and Sam Newton from Oracle Team USA, the hometown team defending the 34th America’s Cup, to our humble club to sail with us on our Access Class sailboats…It is exciting, fun, and educational sailing, and we are thrilled that [they] are able to enjoy a day on the Bay with our members and volunteers.” said Fernanda Castelo, BAADS member and event coordinator along with fellow member, Carwile Leroy.
A Skippers Meeting commenced at 11am on the dock with an introduction and welcome to MacInnes, Newton, and his guest, Elizabeth Marsh, who also participated in the regatta, which incorporated US Sailing race policies. Race Chair and BAADS volunteer, Rommel Barrientos, along with South Beach Yacht Club (SBYC) members were the race committee. The sailors docked off at noon, followed by spectator and chase boats.
Nine Liberty and six 303 boats raced in McCovey Cove. MacInnes sailed with BAADS member Margreta von Pein in a 303, while Sam took a Liberty, and Marsh rode on a 303 with BAADS member Kevin Siemens. The race began with 15 knots of wind, which increased to 20 knots by Race 2 and up to 25 by Race 3. The increase in wind made it a rocky and wet sail. Some members returned to the dock because of the difficulty in maneuvering their boats. Despite the windy and wet conditions, they returned in a jovial mood. MacInnes joined BAADS members and volunteers at SBYC after the regatta for a Q&A.
Maria Papadopoulous-Moustakis, owner of The Java House Restaurant at Pier 40 and friend of BAADS, said of the regatta, “I thought it was just what we needed. It was inspiring for BAADS and for the rest of us. It was nice to see Oracle Team come down and show that they are also a part of our community…We loved seeing everyone so excited and happy.”
With its home at South Beach Yacht Club, BAADS seeks to make all aspects of sailing accessible. It provides sailing and race programs on keelboats and small boats to people with all types of disabilities. The 100+ members, all ranging from novice to experts, sail with a crew or by themselves. Most of the members are accomplished sailors who have participated and placed in both national and international regattas.
In conjunction with South Beach Yacht Club, BAADS will host the North American Championships later this year and the 2014 Access Class World Championships.