Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Pictured above is a photo I took at Burnham Harbor here in Chicago right before I went sailing a week ago last Sunday. There is a a program called,  "Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Adventures." This program is specifically designed to teach people with disabilities how to actually sail. The small 20'-24' sail boats are equipped with controls that enable persons with unique circumstances to navigate a sailboat with the assistance of a trained able bodied sailing instructor.

This program has been in existence for quite some time, in fact if a person were so inclined, they could, over time, end up competing in sailing races. I spoke with a man named Chris who has been affiliated with JGASA for many years, he told me of the many opportunities this program can afford a person with special needs and of the uniqueness of this particular organization.

I was on board this small sailboat with 4 other individuals along with an instructor, I was actually a guest of the gentleman I had spoke of on occasion named Jacob. Jacob was the guy who has impressed me so much at the RIC gym. Anyway, we received some basic instruction on the various parts of a sailboat and a host of other sailing jargon, too complicated to go into here. After these basic instructions we set sail and were out on the water for  over an hour. It was quite exhilarating, and of course the view of the skyline from Lake Michigan was breathtaking.

Fortunately it was  perfect day for sailing, sunny, breezy and quite warm, lower 90's, however, out on the water it was quite pleasant. I did not actually participate in the sailing of the vessel because I was a guest, however, others onboard were encouraged to help in the sailing and maneuvering of the boat. Naturally, what an individual ended up doing with respect to the "sailing" of the boat was dependant upon what their physical capabilities allowed them to do.

I found this to be a welcome change of pace and will definitely do this again, but this time not as a guest. One must attend classroom instruction, although taught outside by the harbor, along with hands on instruction in the sailboat itself.  The smallest instructional package consists of six 2 1/2 hour sessions at a cost of $100, there are also waivers of the fees under certain circumstances.

As we were leaving the harbor entering Lake Michigan I had a flashback to that old movie starring Jack Nicholson, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," remember when Mr. McMurphy took all those guys out on a deep sea fishing adventure and ended up going in circles? That isn't what happened but that thought entered my mind.

If you are functionally compromised, you will find this program quite exciting and a pleasant change of pace, I know I did. Sometimes it is difficult to step outside of our comfort zone, but in so doing great adventures lie ahead for us.

If you are interested in such a program you may call The Judd Goldman Sailing Center Burnham Harbor at: 312.747.7684 or visit: this organization is always looking for able bodied volunteers to assist in various capacities to further their very worthwhile program.

I will keep you posted to further adventures in sailing as I progress. To leave a comment below hot the comment button or to contact me personally write to:

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