Celebrating the sailors and builders who have helped to shape our community of sailors with disabilities.
People listed here have been nominated by their peers; they have been recommended by fellow sailors and their inclusion agreed upon by the sport’s governing body, AbleSailNetwork.
This process recognizes tenacity and teamwork as much as sailing skills, because the ideal sailor has a wide range of skills. It recognizes leadership and the ability to inspire, encourage and empower the future generation of participants.
It is not about who’s won the most races. . . it’s who has given the most to our sport. (Indeed, some of the volunteers are listed for enabling other people to sail, and their work has been done entirely on dry land.)
Dame Margaret Thatcher
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher remains the only woman to have held that prestigious post.
The story of North America adaptive sailing began when the “Iron Lady ” donated a modified, 16-foot Sunbird sailboat to Rick Hansen in Vancouver during Expo 86 to celebrate his “Man in Motion” world tour.
Hansen later gave the boat - named Iron Lady - to Sam Sullivan on the condition that it be used to benefit all people with physical disabilities. With the Sunbird in hand, Sam founded the Disabled Sailing Association of BC in 1989 and Mobility Cup was born in 1991.
Born in 1957 in Port Alberni, BC, Rick sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI) at the age of 15 in a motor vehicle accident. Most famous for his “Man in Motion” world tour – aimed at raising funds to support research to find a cure for SCI and to support quality of life initiatives – he is also a highly decorated Paralympian and international sports competitor.
Rick is a member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia.
While in England during his 40,000-kilometre “Man in Motion” world tour, Rick was introduced to adaptive sailing when he was given a ride in a British-made Sunbird sailboat. An identical vessel was later presented to his representatives at Expo 86 in Vancouver by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
When Sam Sullivan later enquired about the boat, Rick offered it to him on the provision that it be used for the collective good of the larger community of people with physical disabilities.
At the age of 19, Sam became a tetraplegic in a skiing accident. Born in Vancouver in 1959, Sam at first struggled to overcome his injury but went on to form a number of non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life of people living with significant physical disabilities. His work was recognized when he received the Order of Canada in 2005; he was a member of Vancouver City Council for 15 years, serving as mayor from 2005 to 2008.
Sam used the adapted Sunbird sailboat, donated by Rick Hansen, to form the Disabled Sailing Association of BC in 1989. He began raising sponsorship funds for more boats and the first Mobility Cup was held in Vancouver in 1991 “as a symbol of freedom and possibility.”
Mobility Cup has become an international fixture, promoting the establishment of new disabled sailing programs across Canada and strengthening existing ones.
David McLean is a Canadian business leader and champion of entrepreneurship, education and community service. He founded the McLean Group in 1972 and has been chairman of the board of CN Rail (Canadian National Railway Co.) since 1994. He has held many additional high-profile directorships with companies that include Concord Pacific Group, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, Northwestel, Canac Consultants and NuWest Group.
David McLean and CN Rail have supported Mobility Cup from the beginning, ensuring the transport of competitors’ boats, trailers and other equipment to and from host cities each year at no cost.