Remembering Judy Winship
Judy Winship first became involved with the Queen City Disabled Sailing Club (QCDSC) in 2002 when it was still known as the Wind On My Wings Sailing Club. At that time, the club was operating as a summer program out of the office of the South Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre (SSILC).
In 2002, Judy approached SSILC for employment support services and found out about the program from the staff there. Being outgoing and open to trying new things, she thought the sailing club sounded both fun and interesting, so she gave it a try.
What motivated Judy to get involved was the encouragement of the SSILC staff. They urged her to head to Wascana Lake where the QCDSC sails. So she did. Happily, Judy really enjoyed being outside, being part of the club and connecting with the other sailors.
Then, when Judy found out about the annual Mobility Cup regatta, and the opportunity for competitive sailing, she was all in. It certainly appealed to her appreciation for healthy competition and motivated her to continue sailing. Attending her first Mobility Cup made such a great impression on her that it helped motivate her to continue sailing every year. Unsurprisingly, she competed as often as she could!
Judy shared that the experience of being taken out of her wheelchair and being able to sail a boat was the most pleasant surprise when she first discovered adapted sailing. Equally valuable were the connections she created with other people across the country through the AbleSail Network.
Judy with the late Tom Webb at Mobility Cup 2014
Before Judy passed, she would often remark that she wished other people knew about AbleSailing. She used to say that the QCDSC was the best kept secret in Regina. It was her hope that more people would discover adapted sailing and get involved.
Judy also appreciated how the sailboats used by ASN programs can be adapted with equipment that allows anyone to take part and control the boat. Her mantra was “everyone should at least try adapted sailing – because you would have nothing to lose by trying.”
Judy would tell everyone how much she enjoyed being taken out of her wheelchair to go sailing in the Martin 16, and that feeling of freedom it gave her. She would say that feeling of freedom – and how adaptable and inclusive the sailing programs are – was incredibly important. A long-time supporter of AbleSail Network, Judy wanted everyone to know the value of the programs, and the need for support so that adapted sailing experiences could be available across Canada to share this experience of sport, learning, freedom and sheer joy.
Not being able to go to Mobility Cup due to her failing health and COVID-19 event cancellations was difficult for Judy to accept. She was a person who never gave up on anything.
Judy often spoke very fondly of the people she met from other sailing clubs and had been looking forward to the possibility of seeing them again.
She worked hard all year on her physiotherapy with the goal of being strong enough to go to the upcoming Mobility Cup. Sadly, Judy passed before this could happen.
As a community, we remember Judy Winship with respect, admiration and affection. It is sailors like her who make AbleSail Network Canada’s work so meaningful.
Do you have a story to share? We welcome all AbleSail members, sailors, volunteers and community champions to tell us how you got involved with our organization, why adapted sailing is important to you, and what exciting new projects you’ve been a part of in the para sailing community.
Story by Tanya Gallagher (QCDSC Regina) with Jennifer Barnable (AbleSail Network National Board)