Steve Baker thought his life was over when a motorcycle crash left him paralyzed five years ago. Then he discovered the Impossible Dream, a sailing group with a fully wheelchair-accessible, 60-foot catamaran.

"It lets you take your life back," Baker said. "We show people with disabilities that their life doesn't have to be limited."

Now the Florida resident is part of the mission to empower others in wheelchairs. The crew of the Impossible Dream, which made its first voyage in the summer of 2015, spends the summers sailing up the East Coast from Miami, offering free sailing trips to wheelchair users at places where it docks along the four-month journey. The boat is equipped with features that make it welcoming for users on wheels, such as a lift, extra handles, low countertops, and a deck that allows wheelchairs space to turn.

On Wednesday, the catamaran came to Philadelphia to celebrate the Fourth of July and then on Thursday, took former patients from Magee Rehabilitation Hospital out sailing.  The experience was "a bucket-list day" for Lisa Haring-Davner of Montgomery County.

"I wanted to come down [to sail] at Memorial Day, but I couldn't find anything that was handicap-accessible," Haring-Davner said. "I just wanted to come out on the water, wheelchair and all."

The Impossible Dream sits in the marina at Penn’s Landing. The catamaran is fully wheelchair-accessible, a rarity among sailboats, and offers sailing trips to those in wheelchairs for no charge.
MAGGIE LOESCH / Staff Photographer
The Impossible Dream sits in the marina at Penn’s Landing. The catamaran is fully wheelchair-accessible, a rarity among sailboats, and offers sailing trips to those in wheelchairs for no charge.
Lauren DeBruicker, an assistant U.S. attorney based in Philadelphia, talks to Julia Dorsett as the Impossible Dream passes Philadelphia.
Lauren DeBruicker, an assistant U.S. attorney based in Philadelphia, talks to Julia Dorsett as the Impossible Dream passes Philadelphia.
Paulina Bellsky, the boat’s physical therapist and first mate, waves to Rob Klein as he disembarks the Impossible Dream prior to Wednesday’s sail. Klein, a Florida resident, sailed up the East Coast with the crew. “It’s crazy to see a boat that is totally accessible when some places on land aren’t,” said Klein. “This boat is about giving somebody with my disability the opportunity to do something that is totally off the charts. It makes the impossible dream possible. It changes your mind-set.”
MAGGIE LOESCH / Staff Photographer
Paulina Bellsky, the boat’s physical therapist and first mate, waves to Rob Klein as he disembarks the Impossible Dream prior to Wednesday’s sail. Klein, a Florida resident, sailed up the East Coast with the crew. “It’s crazy to see a boat that is totally accessible when some places on land aren’t,” said Klein. “This boat is about giving somebody with my disability the opportunity to do something that is totally off the charts. It makes the impossible dream possible. It changes your mind-set.”
Lisa Haring-Davner, a former Magee patient, looks out onto Philadelphia from aboard the Impossible Dream.
MAGGIE LOESCH / Staff Photographer
Lisa Haring-Davner, a former Magee patient, looks out onto Philadelphia from aboard the Impossible Dream.
Steve Baker, an investment adviser who joined the crew in Baltimore, uses the wheelchair lift inside the boat to access the bedrooms and bathroom. Before he sustained a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident, Baker was an avid sailor.
MAGGIE LOESCH / Staff Photographer
Steve Baker, an investment adviser who joined the crew in Baltimore, uses the wheelchair lift inside the boat to access the bedrooms and bathroom. Before he sustained a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident, Baker was an avid sailor.
Crew member Julia Dorsett’s service dog, Brewster, relaxes on the boat deck. Dorsett has been involved with the Impossible Dream from the beginning. She calls herself the “OG of ID” and goes on the majority of the four-month journey.
MAGGIE LOESCH / Staff Photographer
Crew member Julia Dorsett’s service dog, Brewster, relaxes on the boat deck. Dorsett has been involved with the Impossible Dream from the beginning. She calls herself the “OG of ID” and goes on the majority of the four-month journey.
From left, guests Lisa Haring-Davner, Felicia Krezel, and Lauren DeBruicker look out over the water from the deck of the Impossible Dream on the Delaware River.
From left, guests Lisa Haring-Davner, Felicia Krezel, and Lauren DeBruicker look out over the water from the deck of the Impossible Dream on the Delaware River.
An American flag waves off the bow of the boat as it approaches the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
MAGGIE LOESCH / Staff Photographer
An American flag waves off the bow of the boat as it approaches the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Captain Will Rey looks out over the deck as he sails the Impossible Dream toward the Commodore Barry Bridge over the Delaware River.
MAGGIE LOESCH / Staff Photographer
Captain Will Rey looks out over the deck as he sails the Impossible Dream toward the Commodore Barry Bridge over the Delaware River.

MAGGIE LOESCH / Staff Photographer
Lisa Haring-Davner looks at Philadelphia’s skyline as the Impossible Dream approaches the shore. “This is like a bucket-list day. I never was on a sailboat before [and] it always looked so peaceful,” Haring-Davner said.
The Impossible Dream will dock next at Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, N.J., for its New York City sail trips, scheduled for July 8-13, before continuing north. For more information visit http://impossibledream.us/.