Rick Doerr

2008 U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team Bio


Walter Cooper/ Us Sailing

Class: Sonar
Position: Skipper
US Disabled Sailing Team AlphaGraphics: 1998-2007
Member of: Noroton YC
Education: Montclair Kimberly Academy, New England College (graduated 1982)
Birthdate, Nov. 21, 1960
Birthplace: Passaic, N.J.
Hometown: Clifton, N.J.
Occupation: Physician

Significant sailing achievements: Ranked No. 1 on the US Disabled Sailing Team (2006-2008), U.S. Olympic Committee Paralympians of the Year/Sailing (2007)

Biography: When you ask Rick Doerr, Paralympic skipper of the triplehanded Sonar, to name his most significant achievement in sailing, he does not list his team’s win at last year’s IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship or the fact that his team has been the No. 1-ranked team on the US Disabled Sailing Team for three years. His reply is simply, “sailing again after being disabled.”


Doerr is very much aware that the medals and accolades are icing on the cake: the deeper reward is being able to play a game that let him reconnect to his past after a spinal cord injury in 1992. “Sailing got me back to a place where I felt familiar after my injury,” says Doerr. “When I started sailing again, my health improved.”

His first Paralympic class was the singlehanded 2.4mR, and he aced the fleet as a North American champion. But once he sailed the Sonar, he fell for a boat that he describes as “well balanced, sensitive, and high performance.”
His career as a physician in plastic and reconstructive surgery is another passion. “Some of the challenges of the racecourse prepare me for [my work],” he told Windcheck magazine. “Some of the challenges of the O.R. help me put adversity on the racecourse into perspective.”

Recent results:
2008 9th US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR/Miami
2007 1st IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship/Rochester, N.Y., 1st C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Regatta/Newport, R.I., 2nd US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR