• T.M. O’Shaughnessy

Annual regatta raises funds for mobility-impaired sailors

BNI Challenge Regatta to take place on Saturday, August 24

PHOTO COURTESY ASSOCIATION QUÉBÉ­COISE DE VOILE ADAPTÉE (AQVA)

Sailing clubs from all around the region will converge at Dorval’s Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club this weekend for the annual AQVA fundraiser.

It’s a riveting scene – sailboats from various yacht clubs, mixed with courageous mobility-impaired sailors unconfined by wheelchairs – all united for the 7th annual BNI Challenge to raise money for equipping these brave sailors and running an extraordinary program called Association québécoise de voile adaptée (AQVA).

Starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 24 at Dorval’s Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club, this exciting event held on Lake St. Louis will raise funds for sailors whose desire to sail beyond their daily physical challenges signals a special kind of determination. “Sailing while mobility-impaired is not only a huge challenge,” says event organizer Patrick Flaherty. “It takes unique skills, it takes daring – and just crazy courage. It’s all about sheer determination overcoming enormous obstacles.” “For seven years now, sailors from Quebec have joined forces at Dorval’s Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club to raise funds for the gutsy sailors of AQVA and honour their unique determination,” says Flaherty who also points out that the unique event is endorsed by the Voile Québec and Sail Canada governing bodies.

“This year we’re expecting more than 30 sailboats from sailing clubs all around Lake St. Louis and Lake of Two Mountains. Each skipper registers their yacht and raises donations online from family and friends, and the AQVA sailors themselves participate in their specially designed Martin 16 sailboats.”

PHOTO COURTESY ASSOCIATION QUÉBÉ­COISE DE VOILE ADAPTÉE (AQVA)

Money raised at this event goes to support sailing excursions for the mobility-impaired who might otherwise not have an opportunity to participate in the sport.

Regatta sponsor BNI (Business Network International) is making the event possible.

“We are truly honoured and grateful for their continued support,” says Flaherty. “BNI Director Kai Bjorn is himself a former Olympic sailor and now he is championing mobility-impaired sailors. We are thrilled to have BNI’s support of the gutsiest sailors you or I will ever know.”

Also on offer is an evening lawn party at the yacht club.

“The party starts at 5 p.m. featuring $1 beer from another wonderful sponsor, McAuslan Brewery, and there will also be a Silent Auction followed by dinner and dancing under the stars,” explains Flaherty.

“The whole event is fantastic and the day will be fun and exciting. So save the date, participate and/or donate!”

Participants can register and/or donate online at: www.aqva.org/bni-challenge. All proceeds go to AQVA. A tax receipt will be provided for each donation.

The Royal St-Lawrence Yacht Club is located at 1350 chemin Bord du Lac/Lakeshore, Dorval.

For further info contact Patrick Flaherty at (514) 655-8533.

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