Model boats to benefit disabled sailorsJun 5, 2012
Tabor Academy senior Asa Smith proudly smiles with a fleet of refurbished V32 model racing yachts. Smith hopes that with these models students with disabilities and others will have the opportunity to participate in sailing.
Each year, 30 to 40 students of Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., are approved to work on individually-designed senior projects, with each participant forgoing “traditional” class time so that he or she can devote energy to developing a project of personal interest.
Photos courtesy Captain David Bill/Tabor Academy
Smith hopes that with these models students with disabilities and others will have the opportunity to participate in sailing.
Inspired by Robie Pierce, 1958 Tabor alumnus and founder of Shake-A-Leg, Asa Smith, a senior from Wellesley, Mass., has developed a program that allows student sailors with disabilities to race a fleet of model sailboats. The boat models were made by Tabor students taking the school’s ship and boat design class that is part of the Tabor Nautical Science Department curriculum. Many of the models have been left unfinished from previous semesters. With the support of Robie Pierce and Capt. David Bill, head of the Nautical Science Department, Smith pulled the unfinished boats out of storage, obtained permission to donate them from their previous owners. He spent the semester completing them, including painting them and building the remote controls that enable children and adults with disabilities to sail them as part of model boat regattas.
Smith will donate two of the boats to the 2012 Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta for sailors with disabilities in Larchmont, N.Y., two to Duxbury Bay Maritime School’s ACCESSAIL program, two to the New Bedford Community Boating Center and one to the Schwartz Center in Dartmouth, Mass.
“Asa is a super guy, a tremendous sailor, and a great student,” said Capt. Bill of the lifelong sailor and member of the National Champion Tabor Varsity Sailing Team. “This project is exceptional because of its benefits to the sailing community in addition to the learning experience for the student.”