Beneteau, Annapolis Yacht Sales donating sailboats to persons with disabilities

Beneteau America and Annapolis Yacht Sales are proud to announce the donation and unveiling of two adapted sailboats to Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing adaptive sailing programs to persons with disabilities, wounded warriors and kids from at-risk neighborhoods.

The adapted sailboats, named Beneteau First 22A’s, are adapted from the Beneteau First 22 and will help replace CRAB’s aging fleet. The idea to donate the boats came from Tim Wilbricht, president and owner of Annapolis Yacht Sales, after CRAB asked him to update rigging on its fleet.

“When I saw the condition of some of CRAB’s sailboats and considered the amount of work it would take to modify the rigging on two of their boats, it didn't make sense to spend that much money on older boats,” Wilbricht said. “I thought it would be a great idea to partner with Beneteau America and simply donate new boats.”

Annapolis Yacht Sales and Beneteau America have each donated one sailboat, with CRAB purchasing four more through donations. The retail price for a First 22A is approximately $48,000.

“Beneteau America believes that everyone deserves to enjoy life on the water,” said Chris Doscher, Beneteau America sailboat sales manager. “That’s why we decided to adapt the First 22 so it could be skippered by nearly anyone. We’re excited to see CRAB’s guests take the helm for the first time and explore new horizons.”

CRAB Executive Director Paul Bollinger was equally enthusiastic about the new fleet.

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“Our guests are absolutely elated about this generous gift and we can’t wait to see who gets to the tiller first,” Bollinger said. “We average about a thousand guests per year and provide training to those who may never have had the opportunity to sail. It’s so gratifying to see people leave their wheelchairs and experience the thrill and freedom of sailing independently.”

Beneteau America, Annapolis Yacht Sales and CRAB will unveil the new boats during a brief ceremony to be held on Oct. 5 at 11 a.m. at the CRAB/First 22A display booth at the U.S. Sailboat Show, 1 Dock St (“S” Dock) in Annapolis, Md. State and local officials who have been supportive of CRAB have been invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony. The event will be open to the public.

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