Peter J. Barrett Sailing Alliance
The Peter J. Barrett Sailing Alliance Mission is a program to encourage participation and promote excellence in sailing and sailboat racing for able bodied and disabled college students attending the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. It is designed introduce students to the sport of sailing, train them in the necessary skills to sail and to develop life enhancing proficiencies associated with the sport. It is the partnership between the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater (UW-W) and the Delavan Lake Sailing School (DLSS). of Delavan Wisconsin, both educational organizations with 501(c)(3) status.
The Alliance is named in honor of Peter Barrett, an Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, who taught Sailing School at Delavan Lake Yacht Club and was a Business Professor of UW-Whitewater. Peter was also honored posthumously by Harken Inc. who donated a Sportsmanship trophy to United States Sailing Federation to recognize excellence in sportsmanship during competition.
The Alliance was initiated informally in the spring of 2004 when the two organizations joined to bring Betsy Allison, currently US Paralympic Sailing Coach to train 18 disabled athletes from UW-W in the sport of sailing. The students went from no knowledge of sailing to racing 2 races by the end of the day. Later that year in September UW-W eighteen (18) able bodied students enrolled in a Learn to Sail program. In 2005, UW-W and DLSS offered another Learn to Sail program in the spring for able bodied sailors.
With this encouraging result, plans were made to expand the possibility of encouraging both able bodied and disabled sailing for the following year. In the spring of 2006, 32 able-bodied and disabled sailors participated in a learn-to-sail program in a combined event.
Looking forward, the Alliance is gearing up to increase communications and reports to students at the University and encourage students to take leadership positions in the UWW Sailing Club, a university chartered organization.
Most importantly, the emphasis will be to encourage all disabled and able bodied students with an curiosity or an established interest, to take advantage of the facilities, equipment, and support of both UW-W and DLSS and learn more how sailing teaches life-long skills in planning, implementation, competition, respect and fellowship.
With a 7-year history of working together informally, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the Delavan Lake Sailing School have developed a more formalized approach to encouraging collegiate sailing.