Lunenburg Yacht Club to Host Mobility Cup 2024

Canada’s foremost international regatta for differently abled sailors is coming to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia for the 2024 Mobility Cup.

Gale Fullerton, the General Manager of the Lunenburg Yacht Club (LYC), credited the event’s stop in Lunenburg to their longstanding Sail Able program, which provides sailing opportunities to those with mental or physical disabilities. Lunenburg’s Sail Able Program caters to eight consistent participants, each of which requires four volunteers.

“It’s such an amazing program. It’s so uplifting to see folks have that level of independence that no matter what their physical abilities are, they can sail a boat by themselves,” said Fullerton.

Having experience with Sail Able programs, the LYC decided to host a “mini Mobility Cup,” where they invited sailors from other clubs to Lunenburg for a fun day of racing.

“That was hugely successful,” said Fullerton. “That was hugely inspirational to us. When we saw how great it was for those sailors to get together and compete in a fun way with each other on the water, we said ‘Well, we know there’s a bigger event that happens, so why don’t we see what we can do about bringing that here?’”

Spurred on by the success of their trial regatta, the LYC applied for and was accepted to host 2024’s Mobility Cup from August 26–30. On August 23–25, boats will arrive in Lunenburg via CN Rail from across Canada as sailors and volunteers begin to register for the event. The opening ceremonies and reception for the cup will be held on the waterfront, featuring an appearance from Nova Scotia’s iconic Bluenose II.

The event will feature two racecourses, which will alternate between two fleets every day. The first fleet, known as the Silver Fleet, is made up of more inexperienced sailors, while the Gold Fleet is made up of what Fullerton described as the “masters of the event.”

“They alternate every day. One day, the Gold Fleet will race in the morning and Silver in the afternoon, then they switch the following day,” said Fullerton. “The racecourse is going to be right in front of the yacht club. It’s right in the inlet in the channel out from the yacht club, so there will be a huge opportunity for photography and spectators.”

The LYC will host a barbecue on August 27 for both fleets attending the Mobility Cup. On August 29, the club will host Clearwater Seafoods’ lobster bake and banquet.

Following a week of racing, entertainment and dining at the LYC, will be the Mobility Cup awards and closing ceremonies. In total, 17 awards will be handed out. The winner in the Gold Fleet races will be awarded the Mobility Cup itself, while the Silver Fleet champion will receive the Le Coupe Dellaire.

Other awards include the Sam Sullivan Trophy, which will be awarded to the highest finishing competitor using “sip and puff” technology. There is also the Darin Tucker Sportsmanship Award, given to a competitor who displays “fair play and grace, respect for the sport and respect for fellow sailors.” The Debbie Donald Award will be presented to the highest placing female sailors, while the Hamilton Harbour Commission Trophy is reserved for a first timer to the event who finished the highest amongst other rookies. Five keeper prizes will also be awarded to the top five finishers in each fleet. Finally, the Rob Battilana Trophy is reserved for a member of the organizing committee in recognition of a significant volunteer contribution.

“We will have some local dignitaries at the event. Our club commodore will speak, the President of the Able Sail Network will speak,” said Fullerton. “Every athlete will be given a giftbag to take home, and then it’s just about saying goodbye.”

In the spirit of hosting the Mobility Cup, Fullerton added that the LYC is in the process of constructing several accessibility upgrades to the club.

“As much as we thought we were doing really good things for accessibility, we were doing them all wrong,” said Fullerton. “We’re half accessible, but that’s not good enough. There’s a new standard in Nova Scotia for accessibility in public places that’s set to hit the ground in 2030. With this event in mind, we engaged an architect to figure out what we really needed to do. There’s a wish list of what we’d like to do, but for the purpose of this event — to get the club properly ready for the athletes who were coming — there were certain must-haves. So, we’re working on those right now. We’re under construction.”

For more information about the 2024 Mobility Cup, go to www.mobilitycup.com. For more information on the LYC, go to www.lyc.ca.

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