Sailing is a major part of Clearwater’s tourism and recreation business, as well as Florida’s economy as a whole. It is as interwoven with the Clearwater identity as the water around its locale. In addition to documenting the relentless efforts of local athletes on their journey to the Paralympics, the Barbaro-Gould Foundation wants to show the rest of the world the importance of sailing itself to Clearwater.
Among Clearwater’s sailing organizations are the Clearwater Community Sailing Center and the Never Say Never Pirate Camp, a sailing camp for disabled youth started by Paralympic sailor and key focus of Racing To Rio, Brad Kendell.
In February of 2015, Clearwater hosted the North American Championships of the 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 12, featuring over 140 participants hailing from 19 countries. The North American Championship takes place before world sailing championship 2015 was no different. The Clearwater community’s involvement in this competition shows what a large role it, and by extension, Florida, has in the sailing world.
Racing To Rio also aims to provide additional exposure for both Clearwater and Florida. Brad Kendall’s team of Paralympic sailors, Team USA 1, hopes to represent the United States in the the very last sailing Paralympic event in 2016. If they succeed, they will not only win gold but will gain international acclaim for both the U.S and for Florida.
Racing to Rio is far more than the journey of a few elite athletes striving for world records, gold medals and personal bests. Racing to Rio is the story of transformation from individuals overcoming personal challenges to become world-class sailors and heroes who inspire others to face their challenges and live life to the fullest through the sport of sailing. Racing to Rio is literally about Brad Kendell's journey to the Paralympics in Rio 2016, but also serves on a larger scale as a metaphor for all people who face challenges and how they can take on life to win their own "races" by being the best they can be.