Hurricane

Irma was a bowling ball. These sailboats were the pins. Now what for Shake-a-Leg?

Shake-a-Leg Miami sponsored the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup, an event which brings together top Olympic and Paralympic sailors.
Shake-a-Leg Miami sponsored the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup, an event which brings together top Olympic and Paralympic sailors. Miami Herald File

Hurricane Irma turned the Coconut Grove docks at Monty’s into a waterfront bowling alley.

At the height of the Sept. 10 storm, a yacht — moored in the middle of the churning bay — broke loose and set its sights on Shake-a-Leg Miami’s fleet, which docks at the Monty’s Marina.

“As far as we understand, that boat broke loose and came down like a bowling ball and just took out our boats,” Shake-a-Leg founder Harry Horgan told Miami Herald news partner CBS4.

The nonprofit Shake-a-Leg Miami, with its three-decade mission of helping people with disabilities and their families overcome challenges and enjoy independence on the water through sailing, lost nine sailboats and four power boats.

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The disabled-accessible boats were particularly affected despite completed precautions, Horgan said. “They were all tied up correctly. We stripped them of all their sails, we double-tied them.”

Daniel Kaplan and Kevin Rodriguez, who had worked as Shake-a-Leg counselors, started a GoFundMe page to help cover costs beyond what insurance may provide.

“Due to the catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Irma, Shake-a-Leg Miami’s ability to serve the community as it has for the past 25 years is in jeopardy. Weekend and after-school programs that were slated to begin this week have now been canceled indefinitely,” the page says.

As of Sunday morning, the fund-raising campaign had brought in more than $21,000 toward a $50,000 goal.

The organization is well-regarded for its work with children and veterans. Shake-a-Leg sponsors boating events like ISAF Sailing World Cup, which brings together top Olympic and Paralympic sailors; the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta; Community Abilities Bay Day; and summer camps.

“These are kids who have lived a rough life; many are disabled. It gives them pure joy and happiness,” Kaplan told CBS4.

“Mother Nature really knocked us down, but there’s really a lot of power on the getting out on the water and rebuilding,” Horgan said.

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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