Carrying on Regardless

Posted by KL – February 8, 2015 – Lead photo of Skud 18s racing in Miami by Walter Cooper

A week or so ago at the Miami Olympic classes regatta — ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami — I ran into Maureen McKinnon, back on the campaign trail. You should remember Maureen as the gold medal crew for Paralympic hero sailor Nick Scandone.

Just getting to the 2008 Paralympic Games in Qingdao, with Nick in the late stages of ALS, was a thin-line ride between a dream and a nightmare. But they made the finish line. They made the top of the podium, which, for Paralympians, is figurative rather than literal.

Maureen slowed down a bit after that — to the extent that she ever slows down — but she’s found a next skipper for a next Skud 18 campaign. When I saw her last, she had just received two pieces of news simultaneously. She and Ryan Porteous had been named to US Sailing Team Sperry, and sailing had been dropped from the 2020 Paralympic Games.



There is much afoot about reversing that last decision about 2020. Meanwhile, what’s below arrived today from Maureen, by way of a press release. Here’s Maureen :

For the past six years
since our gold medal win in China, I have continued to sail part time on the Paralympic circuit, hoping to find a team to put together. In November, I began practicing with a talented college sailor from San Diego, California and I am back in the SKUD18.

We have just returned from a World Cup event – our first racing together as a team. Ryan Porteous and I secured the second place SKUD 18 spot on the US Sailing Team Sperry, one year prior to the upcoming US Paralympic team selection for Rio games 2016. We were just two points behind the other US team.

[And last in a small fleet, but you have to start somewhere: KL]

The US Paralympic Sailing Team has a long history of Paralympic medal achievement in the 3 sailing disciplines. Since the sport’s inception in 1996, the US has won 3 Bronze, 3 Silver and one Gold for our country. “We are very proud to make the US Sailing Team Sperry in this critical year, just before the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil.”

It will take a lot of practice, training days, good regatta performances and public support over the next year to win the US Trials. The Marblehead community (especially the sailing community) really got behind us for my last bid in 2008. I hope to rally up the support we need to bring MORE gold back to our proud sailing community! The Olympic stipends provided to serious Rio campaigners fall well short of the fundraising needs of any team.

[And people ask why US Olympic/Paralympic sailors struggle against the fully-professionalized competition from abroad: KL]

Our schedule will include two expensive overseas regattas and two boat charters for this year. We also have 4 local New England regattas (Newport & New York), and we are hoping to be granted a SKUD 18 start line for the 126th Marblehead Race Week this summer.

Returning to the Editor’s voice :

Marblehead Race Week 126? Very cool. Let’s do this, Marblehead.

As seen through the lens of Leighton O’Connor in 2014, Marblehead Race Week was a little of this . . .


And a little of this . . .


And this . . .


And . . .


Suns New Jerseys