Sarah Everhart-Skeels and Cindy Walker race the SKUD-18 sailboat, which was specifically created for adaptive sailors. Both women found sailing after experiencing spinal cord injuries that left each with different levels of lower body paralysis.
When Sarah’s spinal cord was injured in a cycling accident she lost more than the use of her legs. She had always been active—she’d been on a bike ride training for a triathlon during the accident—and in a moment it was all gone. She felt like she had lost the essence of who she was. Sailing was how she found it again.
Cindy knows the feeling. One day, when she was 14, she woke up paralyzed from a rare inflammatory disease. She would spend the next 10 years hoping to wake up again and find herself cured. It wasn’t until she began sailing that something changed. Out on the water, the weight of her disability melted away. She wasn’t just free of her crutch and her wheelchair; she was simply free.
Together they are the only all-female SKUD-18 team and their goal is on a spot on the US Paralympic Sailing Team.
Uncharted Waters follows twelve elite US Sailing Team Sperry athletes on their quest to claim a spot on the Olympic and Paralympic sailing teams that will compete in the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.