The culmination of an inaugural campaign to recognize individuals who make significant contributions to their local sailing community has brought recognition to an Annapolis man who created an innovative sailing program.
Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky and US Sailing recently announced the winner of the 2012 Old Pulteney Maritime Heroes Award and Donald Backe, one of six “unsung hero” finalists considered for the top honor, received the most votes in an online public vote. Backe will be honored at an award ceremony this month during US Sailing’s 2013 National Sailing Programs Symposium in Clearwater, Fla.
Backe was nominated by a member of his sailing community for creating the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating organization whose mission is to inspire and teach the disabled to sail. Backe founded the group in 1991 so that sailing could be experienced by physically and mentally challenged individuals, as well as those who weren’t able to participate in the sport for financial reasons. Because of Backe’s tenacity and will, the group has evolved into a four-sailboat fleet, home-ported at Sandy Point State Park outside Annapolis.