Wednesday, 04 September 2013 16:16

Quebec Sailor Wins Mobility Cup

Mob Cup 2013The winner of the High Liner Mobility Cup 2013 is Christine Lavallée of Gatineau, Quebec. Lavallée is only the second woman to ever claim the top prize in the history of the event. The trophy for the best results in the Gold fleet at this year's Canadian regatta for people with mobility impairments was presented at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax by the Regatta chair, Mike Archibald and the president of High Liner Foods, Henry Demone. Lavallée had three first place finishes over a seven race series in Halifax harbour Aug. 27-30th. Second place was taken by last year's winner, Marc Villeneuve of Laval, Quebec and third by the 2011 winner, Pierre Richard of Montreal, Quebec. Lavallée also won the gold medal at the Canada Games in Sherbrooke in the 2.4 mr class earlier this summer.

The winner of the Dallaire Cup as the top competitor in the Silver fleet this year is Jean-Paul Dussault of LaSalle, Quebec. Tracy Schmitt of Toronto, Ontario was second in the Silver fleet and Basil Katsivalis of Pointe-Claire, Quebec won third place.

The group of 41 sailors included competitors from Australia and the United States as well as many Canadian provinces. Mobility Cup sailors used a fleet of 21 Martin 16s which were shipped in from sailing clubs across the country. The sailors have a wide range of disabilities but the boats are adapted to make the competition fair for everyone. Electronic winches are installed to control the lines and an autohelm is used for steering so that people with severe impairments can use a joystick to control the sails and rudder. A "sip 'n puff" system used to control wheelchairs is also adapted for use on the Martin 16. Sailors in the Silver fleet, who have less experience, have companion sailors on board to assist in controlling the boat.

The first Mobility Cup regatta was initiated in 1991 by former Vancouver mayor, Sam Sullivan, founder of the Disabled Sailing Association of B.C. He donated the Mobility Cup trophy which has been awarded yearly since then.

In his remarks at the closing ceremony, High Liner president Henry Demone congratulated the sailors for their hard work on the water and congratulated them on their willingness to compete despite significant odds. He talked about the spirit of two New Zealand competitors who had been America's Cup sailors and both now have Multiple Sclerosis. David Barnes and Rick Dodson have been competing in the IFDS Championship this week in Kinsale, Ireland. That World Championship will be hosted at the RNSYS in Halifax August 19-24, 2014.

Other Mobility Cup awards given out at the Halifax ceremony include:

  • the Sam Sullivan Trophy which recognizes the top placing "sip and puff" sailor won for a record 10th time by Rene Dallaire of Montreal, Quebec
  • the Debbie Donald Award for the top-placing female sailor won by Christine Lavallée of Gatineau, Quebec
  • the Daren Tucker Award for showing tenacity during the regatta won by Terry Leblanc of Vancouver, B.C.