September 18, 2023

Impossible Dream Catamaran Takes on the Ida Lewis Distance Race!

Newport, RI - August 19, 2021 - The Impossible Dream Catamaran,a vessel known for its commitment to inclusivity and accessibility,participated in the prestigious Ida Lewis Distance Race for the first time onAugust 18. The race, organized by the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, honors the legacyof Ida Lewis, a remarkable woman who served as the lighthouse keeper at LimeRock in Newport. 


Fifty boats set sail in the Ida Lewis Distance Race, which wasinitially postponed for two hours due to a passing squall. The Impossible DreamCatamaran, with a crew of 15, embarked on the challenging 129-nautical milerace under clear skies and 18 mph winds. The anticipated duration of the racewas 24 hours, with the course taking the participants southeast to Buzzards BayLight and then around Block Island, to Montauk, back to Buzzards Bay Light andreturn to Newport. 


As the race progressed, the wind and sea conditions intensified.After rounding the Buzzards Bay Light, the Impossible Dream encountered gustywinds, leading to the unfortunate loss of the Genoa head shackle. This forcedthe crew to furl the Genoa and open the staysail, significantly impacting theirperformance. Despite the setback, the team continued to navigate through thechallenging conditions.


However, the weather took a turn for the worse when theImpossible Dream Catamaran encountered a squall with wind gusts exceeding 40mph. Concerned for the safety of the crew, the spirit of Ida Lewis appeared onboard, spoke to the crew and said it was time to return to shore. The decisionwas made to abandon the race at approximately 1:15 am. The team safelyreturned to Casey's Marina in Newport around 3:30 am.


The Impossible Dream Catamaran was not alone in facing theadverse conditions, as twelve other boats were also forced to abandon the race,and two required rescue operations. The Ida Lewis Distance Race truly testedthe skills and resilience of all participants.


The Ida Lewis Yacht Club, formerly the home of Ida Lewis, is nowa symbol of her enduring spirit and love for the sea. The club aims tochallenge sailors to navigate safely, just as Ida Lewis did during her time asa lighthouse keeper. The race serves as a tribute to her courage, tenacity, andability, inspiring all sailors to push their limits.


Deborah Mellen, the Founder of the Impossible Dream Catamaran,shares the same values as Ida Lewis. Both women exemplify the notion that womenare capable of accomplishing anything they set their minds to and that sailingis an accessible activity for all.


About Ida Lewis and the Ida Lewis Yacht Club:

Ida Lewis was a pioneering woman who served as the lighthousekeeper at Lime Rock in Newport. Her dedication and bravery in saving numerouslives at sea earned her national recognition. The Ida Lewis Yacht Club, locatedin Newport, is now a thriving institution that promotes sailing and seamanshipwhile honoring Ida Lewis's legacy.


About the Impossible Dream Catamaran:

The Impossible Dream Catamaran is a unique vessel designed toprovide accessible sailing experiences for individuals with disabilities. It isequipped with state-of-the-art technology and modifications that allow peopleof all abilities to enjoy the thrill of sailing. The Impossible Dream Catamaranaims to break down barriers and inspire individuals to pursue their dreams,regardless of physical limitations. This is her 4th major distance race and her9th year traveling the east coast annually stopping in 15 ports of call, takinghundreds of people with disabilities and their families sailing each year. Inthe winter she lives at Shake A Leg Miami, a community boating center thatspecializes in serving people with disabilities, veterans, youth and families.