NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — The Impossible Dream, a 60-foot catamaran built so that those with disabilities can experience the thrill of sailing, is coming to Rhode Island waters next week.
The boat is making its annual summer cruise of the East Coast of the United States and Canada, and will put into port in Newport on Sunday.
At each stop along the journey, the Impossible Dream team contacts disability organizations and rehabilitation hospitals to take people sailing.
“Part of its mission is to get people with disabilities out on the water and having fun,” said Harry Horgan, a Newport native who founded Shake-A-Leg Miami, an adaptive water sports facility in Miami for people of all abilities.
Horgan co-founded the Impossible Dream nonprofit venture with businesswoman Deborah Mullen. Both Horgan and Mullen also use wheelchairs.
“It’s kind of like a homecoming for me,” said Horgan, who is flying up from Miami to Newport for an Aug. 28 fundraiser at Waite’s Wharf in Newport for the Impossible Dream Inc.
Horgan is co-chairman of the fundraiser along with Coast Guard House co-owner Joe Formicola. The two have known each other for many years.
“Joe is kind of spearheading the whole thing,” Horgan said.
Donations and fundraisers help the Impossible Dream provide trips of a lifetime, and also keep the vessel seaworthy. The organization also has a goal of acquiring a new boat in the future, Horgan said.
The Impossible Dream was in Maine this week and will arrive in Newport Sunday, and Horgan said there are available slots for sailing trips next week. The boat will sail out of Casey’s Marina on Long Wharf, he said.
Anyone interested in booking a trip is welcome to contact Horgan at (305) 527-5602 or visit the website theimpossibledream.org, he said.
“Anyone that’s in a wheelchair, we’d like to get them on board,” he added.
All ages are welcomed aboard. The goal is to get individuals with a disability out on the water, and to promote discussion of issues of accessibility. The trips also are often very emotional. It’s the first time many participants have been on the open water.
“The best part is when (passengers) come back from a trip with smiles on their faces,” Horgan said.
Each of the vessel’s four sleeping cabins is wheelchair-accessible. There’s also a bathroom in each of the catamaran’s two identical hulls. The top deck has plenty of room for wheelchairs to maneuver among the various steering and navigation control areas as well.
After its time in Newport, the boat will sail to New York City and provide similar trips to those with disabilities, Horgan said.
After several more stops on the East Coast, the boat returns to Miami for rest and repairs at the end of October.