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Quadriplegic Sailors Set Out For Annapolis To Raise Money

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- For the past 24 years, a group of volunteers have made it their mission to get disabled people out sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

As Mike Schuh reports, they brought one of their special boats to Baltimore to launch their most ambitious trip yet.

Talk about a perfect day on the water--sunny, low humidity, a strong steady breeze.  The nonprofit Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, or CRAB, owns this boat.

But let's back up--just getting this far takes some explaining.

Lance, the captain, needs to have his hand Velcro-ed to the tiller--and that's after three grown men heave him aboard.

A quadriplegic for 33 years, Lance Hinrichs is skippering this craft from Baltimore to Annapolis.

"Today is a long distance trip. Most of the sailing we do is right around Sandy Point Park where we're based," he said.

And though he's sailed for decades, at 25 miles, this is the longest trip point to point.

Right now, the boat isn't set up so Josh Basile could steer.

"We also want to raise money for a special mouth-controlled system that will allow someone to operate this boat with my physical functionality or someone that has no movement in their arms at all," said Basile.

This week, he passed the bar exam in D.C.

Friday, he's one of three quad sailors being strapped in--four straps, fact--a dangerous position to be in out on the water should anything go wrong or the boat capsize.

"I've learned since my injury that life's about getting a little outside your comfort zone. And to truly experience life, you have to do that," said Basile. "And once we get the sip and puff system, then it's going to be my turn," said Basile.

With this wind, they'll definitely make it down to Annapolis well before sundown.

That group will soon start a campaign to raise the $8,000 needed to buy the controls so one of the boats can be steered by blowing puffs of air into special straws.

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