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Disabled veterans set sail on the Charles through Community Boating

Gliding across the Charles River, sailing instructor Kaela Winer reminded the three disabled veterans on board Saturday of an important principle: Sailboats can’t stop — they must always be moving.

The concept of constant movement is one these veterans are well familiar with.


Active schedules are critical so they have little time to dwell on their disabilities. The trio fills their time with cycling, archery, golfing, rock climbing, and more, said Jim Tynan, one of the veterans on board.

On Saturday, the three added sailing on the Charles to that list as a part of an open house for disabled veterans hosted by Community Boating Inc., a nonprofit run in association with the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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“It’s amazing,” Tynan said. “Even a couple of years ago, I probably wouldn’t have left the house and do these things.”

But now?

“Look at us — we’re in the middle of the Charles River!” the Taunton resident said, gesturing to his fellow veterans Roland Filion and Tina Lavallee. Both wheelchair users, the two were steering the boat and trimming the sails.


The mission of Community Boating, started in 1946, is succinctly summarized on a sign on the front of its boathouse: “Sailing Here for All.”

For the past decade, the organization has been accommodating disabled sailors through the state’s universal access program. Its pink sails have decorated the Charles since 2014 when a a fund-raiser sponsored by Education First in Cambridge helped buy equipment required for sailors with physical and cognitive disabilities to get out on the water.

Starting this summer, the program has expanded to include disabled veterans, getting help from a $65,000 grant from the US…

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