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Sailors with disabilities from around the world meet in Chicago for annual regatta

CHICAGO — An annual regatta for sailors with disabilities wrapped up Sunday at Burnham Harbor in Chicago.

Paralympic medalist and Irish Sailaing Association President John Twomey was one of the sailors competing in the Independence Cup.

“I had an accident when I was young,” Twomey said. “I was a racing cyclist. I crashed in a race and cycling was no longer an option.”

Because he lived near the coast, he picked up sailing and the rest is history.

“I love sailing and it’s a great sport for someone with a disability because it’s a great equalizer,” Twomey said.

He was one of 40 sailors from all over the world racing in the Independence Cup, which was hosted by the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation.

“Our mission here at the foundation is to help develop self-reliance, self-esteem and independence,” Peter Goldman, the foundation’s president, said.

It was started in honor of Peter’s late father who had a disabling bone disease.

“He found that sailing was a good sport for him and so he sailed his whole life,” Peter said.

Goldman said adaptive boats are expensive to buy and maintain, but the foundation makes them available to the athletes at no cost.

“We started this program with three boats, now we have 20 boats in our fleet,” Peter said.

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