First established in 1986, what was then called the U.S. Independence Cup became US Sailing’s national championship for disabled sailors in 1989.
For many years it was organized by the Disabled Sailing Committee and was run in conjunction with the North American Challenge Cup, which is hosted by Chicago Yacht Club. In 2007, the regatta moved under the Championships division of US Sailing and was renamed the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship.
On December 18, 2017 the U.S. Sailing Board of Directors approved a name change from The U.S. Disabled Championship to the U.S. Para Sailing Championship to keep in line with the World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee format.
The Gene Hinkel Trophy was donated in 2009 by Shumway Marine, the Sonar Class and Ontario Yachts in honor of Gene Hinkel’s many contributions to disabled sailing and the US Paralympic team. This trophy is given to the top finishing tripplehanded team.
The trophy is engraved:
This award is dedicated to Gene Hinkel (St. Petersburg, FL) for his unselfish dedication to disabled sailing and disabled sailors. Gene has invented many adaptive aids which have enabled numerous disabled sailors to get out on the water. Gene served at the highest levels of the sport as Measurer at the Sydney and Athens Paralympic Games but he is most known as an advocate for disabled sailors.
To maintain the integrity of the trophy, it will remain on display at the National Governing Body of the sport – U.S. Sailing Association
Previous Award Recipients
- 2022 – Patrick LoDuca, Sarah Gilbert, and Paul Wurtzebach
- 2021 – Sarah Everhart Skeels, Pauline Dowell, Emma Montgomery: Sonar – Gene Hinkel Trophy and the U.S. Para Sailing Inclusive Triplehanded National Champions
- 2019 – Rick Doerr, Charles McClure, Roger Cleworth: Sonar – Gene Hinkel Trophy and the U.S. Para Sailing Triplehanded National Champions
- 2018 – Rick Doerr, Dawn Hart, Charles McClure: Sonar
- 2014 – Triplehanded: Steven Hammer,Kathy Champion, Brad Kendall
- 2012 – Andrew Fisher, Mike Hersey, Ryan Levinson
- 2011 – Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell, Hugh Freund – Clifton, NJ
- 2010 – John Robertson, Hannah Stodel, Steve Thomas – Portland, Dorset GBR
Tripplehanded winners prior to the Gene Hinkel Trophy being gifted
- 2008 – Rick Doerr, Tim Angle, Bill Donohue- Clifton, NJ
U.S. Independence & North American Challenge Cups
- 2007 – Albert Foster, David Burdette, Jim Thweatt-Wayzata, MN/ Lutherville, MD /W. Sacramento, CA