NEWPORT, R.I. (April 15, 2020) – The C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta are hoping and expecting to go forward with the rescheduled September dates and will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation. The current situation is requiring everyone to adjust to continual challenges and the Clagett Regatta has been monitoring the situation and made the decision to reschedule the 18th Clagett Regatta to September for the safety and health of all involved. Everyone wants to look forward and plan for something later in the year while staying safe at home and self-quarantining. While preparing for the Clagett Regatta in Newport, The Clagett is pleased to be able to announce a new initiative for sailors with disabilities. Team Clagett is an exciting new program, established in 2020, developed as a means of providing selected sailors the opportunity to experience training and racing at elite sailing events.
Team Clagett builds upon The Clagett’s Boat Grant Program that was launched in 2016. Team Clagett will be comprised of four sailors who compete in the 2.4mR class at The Clagett Regatta in Newport. The team will be made up of the top three scoring 2.4 mR competitors with a disability, plus the next highest scoring 2.4 mR Clagett Boat Grant Programrecipient competitor. The team will be provided with funds to attend and compete at the 2020 2.4mR World Championships and 2.4mR Para World Championships, in Tampa, Florida in November this year. Joining the team as the coach will be Marek Valasek (Geneva Lake, Wis.). Valasek, who represented his home country of Slovakia at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, moved to the US in 2000 and started coaching primarily in youth sailing programs along with Olympic and Paralympic sailors and was a coach for the 2.4mR class at the 2018 Para World Sailing Championships in Sheboygan WI. He is currently the Executive Director of Geneva Lake Sailing School, a nonprofit that provides an opportunity to learn and hone sailing skills to youth and adults in the South East Wisconsin area. Additional resources that the team will have the use of include a coach boat along with funds to be used for travel, accommodation and other expenses will be provided.
“Even during these difficult times, it is important that we continue to plan opportunities for the future. We are thrilled that the Team Clagett program being offered will enable sailors with disabilities to compete on the international stage at a World Championship for the 2.4mR class. This opportunity will allow the sailors to experience racing competition against sailors from across the world all while representing The Clagett. These sailors will take away skills and experience that will benefit them for years to come,” commented Clagett President and Co-Founder Judy Clagett McLennan (Portsmouth, R.I.).
Signing up as the official lifejacket partner for the Team Clagett program is MTI Lifejackets, based out of Plymouth, Massachusetts. MTI owners Lili and Gordon Colby (Plymouth, Mass.) had this to say about the partnership, “MTI Life Jackets has long worked with adaptive sailing and paddle sports programs to help determine which PFD designs are best suited for people with disabilities and were inspired by Lili’s cousin, John Ruf, Bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. John was one of MTI’s first sailing Ambassadors, followed in 2014 with the dynamic-duo of Sarah Everhart-Skeels and Cindy Walker in their bid for the Rio Games. The MTI pullover models, the Cascade and Vibe are perfect for adaptive sailors. The jackets are low profile with tremendous mobility and a secure fit, plus every model we make is US Coast Guard approved,” explains product designer Gordon. Lili sees this new support of Team Clagett as a natural progression for MTI, “In addition to our new role as the official life jacket of the US Sailing Siebel Sailors Program, getting behind Team Clagett helps us reach more sailors and give back to the sport we love.”
For more information about The Clagett visit: www.clagettregatta.org or follow the Clagett on Instagram @clagett_regatta or on Facebook @ClagettRegatta.
About the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta: Founded in 2003, the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta honors the late Tom Clagett (1916-2001), a U.S. Navy World War II veteran who learned to sail on Chesapeake Bay. As a youngster he suffered temporary paralysis as the result of a bout of meningitis; an experience that left him with a deep respect for the accomplishments of people with disabilities. The Clagett’s stated mission is "to provide sailors with disabilities the opportunity to improve their skills and reach personal goals through world-class coaching and competition," Tom Clagett's motto was "Reach for Success", which resonates with every Clagett participant. Clagett competitors have seen medal success at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games. Competitors often comment that, The Clagett, has improved their quality of life as they apply what is achieved on the water to everyday situations.
Team Clagett 2020 sponsors and supporters as of April 15 2020:
The Clagett organization would like to thank the following – Judy Clagett McLennan; Matt and Anne Hamilton; Stephanie McLennan; MTI Lifejackets; Robbie Murphy Benjamin;