Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cheers for Chairs! Revolutionary Sailing Prototype Needs Your Support!

A fantastic project is underway in Boston to develop a universally accessible seating system for sailing that will allow people with severe physical disabilities to be in full control of the boat. Now is the time to jump in and help complete this inspiring venture! Richard Ramos, previously featured in Everyone Outdoors, offers this Guest Post. I am amazed at how far he has come in pursuit of  his dream. True inspiration!
I love sailing! My primary goal with this project is to bring to others the freedom and exhilaration and transformation of spirit that sailing has brought to my life since reconnecting with it five years ago. 
During this past year, I’ve been working with members of the RIT engineering department; specifically with a very talented RIT engineer named Aleef Mahmud, to design specialized equipment that enables me to race sailboats competitively. The work we’ve done is in support of another goal: to mount a successful campaign to compete in the Paralympics. 

The system has been a HUGE success. Aleef and I have learned a lot during the design process. I can’t begin to tell you the excitement I feel regarding the potential this system has to open access for disabled people everywhere. Aleef and I want to share this experience with others by taking our design to the next level and modify it so it can accommodate more people. We’ve joined up with Community Boating Boston, a 501(c)3 non-profit with a lot of accessible sailing expertise, to design a one-of-a-kind, high-tech steering/chair system that gives a variety of disabled sailors much greater control and more freedom while they sail. 

We’re very excited but it’s a very expensive engineering challenge. To raise the money we need, Community Boating launched an Indiegogo Campaign on Oct 11, 2014 called #Cheers4Chairs at Community Boating. Here’s the campaign link. Please take a look at our campaign page, consider supporting our project and spread the word! With your help, we can make this happen!
With over $18,000 raised and 60% of our goal completed, our #Cheers4Chairs campaign briefly made it to the TOP Indiegogo Trending home page and we'd love to keep us at the top! 
Community Boating (CBI) is the oldest sail training center in the United States – I’ve been a member for the last two years. CBI is located in downtown Boston right on the Charles River Basin on the Esplanade. In 2007, they launched a program called the Universal Access Program (UAP), with support from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Universal Access Program. For the past 7 years, CBI’s UAP team successfully enabled hundreds of disabled sailors to get out on the water. The UAP team is ready to share their expertise and their facility. Aleef and I are joining forces with CBI; combining our substantial experiences to successfully design a more versatile system that can benefit everyone.
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