August 3, 2022
A celebration of regained freedom
Every summer, for the past ten years, sailors from different yacht clubs, including sailors with physical and/or sensory disabilities, have gathered for the Regatta for the Québec Adapted Sailing Association (AQVA). Volunteer sailors are once again organizing the largest philanthropic regatta in Québec, to raise funds to allow the AQVA to offer the freedom and excitement of adapted sailing to as many people living with disabilities as possible.
The event is an inclusive and exciting competition. The Royal St-Lawrence Yacht Club in Dorval QC is hosting The Regatta for AQVA on August 20, 2022, followed by a cocktail reception and dinner with dancing and prize giving. All profits are donated to the AQVA. To date, more than $280,000 have been raised since the Regatta’s foundation, the most important source of funding for the Association.
A natural support for an indispensable organization
The AQVA and its ten instructors allow more than 200 sailors to enjoy this adapted sport in a safe environment. Too often isolated by their condition, AQVA sailors take part in an inclusive and dynamic activity that gives them a sense of belonging. The pride of sailing, for first, repeat or old timers, and the feeling of freedom are visible on the enthusiastic faces of the sailors. Nothing describes AQVA better than the image of the empty wheelchair on the dock and the adapted sailboat in the background sailing freely on the lake. Adapted sailing is available to anyone living with a mobility impairment, regardless of age or ability, alone or accompanied, for pleasure or for competition.
With a start time of 1:30 pm on Saturday, August 20, 2022 on Lake Saint-Louis, this exciting event will bring together some 40 sailboats from the sailing clubs of lakes Saint-Louis and Deux-Montagnes, including AQVA sailors aboard their specially designed sailboat, the Martin 16. Dinner (6pm) attendance often surpasses 150 guests.
“The willingness and ability to sail with a physical disability is an extraordinary challenge, but it is possible,” says Patrick Flaherty, co-founder of the event, which is organized by a committee of 14 volunteers. “It takes boldness and determination, but the outcome is exhilarating.”
We thank The Tenaquip Foundation and Desjardins – Caisse de l’Ouest-de-l’Île for their support.
- Laurence P.Rousseau development assistant, Association québécoise de voile adaptée
René Dallaire, a Quebecer who became quadriplegic after a downhill skiing accident, received a call from Sam Sullivan offering to come to Vancouver to try out a sailboat designed for people in his condition. He returned to Montreal with the firm intention to develop a sailing program for people with physical disabilities. The Montreal program officially opened on April 24, 1997 at the Pointe-Claire Yacht Club.
The Quebec Adapted Sailing Association wishes to enable people with physical and/or sensory disabilities, even very severe ones, to improve their quality of life and their inclusion in the community by joining an association for sailing. Whether people are living with a birth disability or have been disabled as a result of an accident, the goal of the organization is to give them the means and resources to learn or continue to practice sailing and eventually be able to do so independently. AQVA believes that the success of sailing, a true symbol of freedom and autonomy, has positive effects on the personal and social life of people with a physical or sensory disability.