It's fun to stay at the AQVA

It's fun to stay at the AQVA

It will be a busy summer for Association Québécoise de Voile Adaptée! AQVA, Quebec’s sailing association for sailors with a disability, is not only celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, but will also be hosting the Mobility Cup regatta at Pointe-Claire Yacht Club.

AQVA offers a range of programs for its participants, including Recreational, for those who wish to leave their wheelchair on the dock and enjoy the freedom of sailing; Learn-to-Sail, for those who wish to acquire their CANSail certification; and Learn-to-Race, for those with a competitive spirit. The Club also offers a kids program, as well as group outings. All of these programs work towards achieving a common goal: to relieve the obstacles that challenge the mobility impaired and give them the opportunity to sail independently.

The Learn-to-Race program is constantly growing in popularity. All sailors who have completed CANSail 1 & 2 have the eligibility to take part. The program includes water drills three times a week, and a number of on-land seminars offered throughout the year. Participants work towards racing in their Club’s own annual Coupe du Québec regatta, as well as those regattas organized by other disabled sailing programs in eastern Canada and northeast USA. “The Learn-to-Race program is a well-structured, professionally run program by a young, dynamic coaching team,” says participant Basil Katsivalis. “I enjoy the sense of competitiveness and camaraderie as we are put through our paces on the water, and the valuable feedback we receive at debrief. I am really looking forward to the buildup for Mobility Cup this year.” The highlight of each season is the Mobility Cup regatta, Canada’s international regatta for sailors with a disability, which takes place in a different location each year. AQVA and Pointe-Claire Yacht Club will be hosting it for the third time this summer from August 29- September 2, 2016.

AQVA was founded in 1996 at Pointe-Claire Yacht Club by René Dallaire, a quadriplegic who sails a Martin 16 using sip n’ puff technology. It started with nothing but a borrowed boat and a handful of volunteers, but over its twenty years it has grown to offer a variety of programs, employ a knowledgeable and dedicated staff, and gain a fleet of five Martin 16s, plus a 2.4mR. A second, smaller site of AQVA is located near Sherbrooke, Quebec at Club nautique du Petit Lac Magog.

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