| Author's Name: Martha Gouniai|
Date: Tue 25 May 2021
In 1994, Al Grundy was not a sailor. Since the age of one, he'd had polio and needed calipers to walk.
While Al considered this more of an inconvenience than a disability, he fit the requirements for a scratch crew of people with disabilities setting out to sail the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in what would become the founding sail of the Making Waves Foundation.
It was all about breaking barriers, proving that people with disabilities could compete against the best, and be just as effective crew members as anyone else.
Al remarked, “One of the interesting things, and one of the reasons I got into this in the first place, is that ocean racing or sailing puts us all on an equal playing field. The disability does not exist as much on this boat as what it does on land. It’s a much better environment for me and I’m happy to be here."
Al is no longer a novice sailor. He was part of the MWF team that claimed the World Record for the fastest circumnavigation of Australia, non-stop and unassisted in 2003. Since then, he has sailed some ten Sydney to Hobart's and been part of several Northern Campaigns.
The list of races and regattas Al has competed in is massive and the number of people he has influenced is even greater. Throughout this time, he has always been known for his sense of fun and adventure amongst the children who participate.
This year Al received his 20 years of service pin at the volunteer party in Sydney alongside several other founding members. We look forward to many more years of sailing together.