Poole is set to welcome an amazingly talented cast of Paralympic and both able-bodied and disabled Worlds medallists when it hosts one of the most unique sailing events on the international racing calendar this year - the International 2.4 Metre class Open World Championships.
Megan Pascoe - 2.4 Metre World Championship 2012
The International 2.4mR is the only class where able-bodied and disabled sailors, male and female, compete in the same boats on a level playing field and a best-ever fleet of around 100 sailors is anticipated at the event, being staged by The Poole Yacht Club from 6 - 14 September 2013.
The 2.4mR is the one-person Paralympic Games boat, and typically 25-30 percent of an International 2.4mR Worlds fleet is classified with a range in type and severity of disability. However, its design means every competing athlete, regardless of ability, age or gender, has just as much chance of claiming the top Worlds prize.
Steve Bullmore, International 2.4mR Class Association secretary, explains: 'We are delighted to be bringing the 2013 Worlds to Poole. This event always captures the imagination wherever it’s staged because the racing is so unique. You have Paralympic and disabled Worlds medallists going head-to-head with top able-bodied athletes in unbelievably tight, tactical and strategic racing.
'The 2.4mR is a keelboat but has the fingertip feel of a dinghy. The sailor sits facing forwards in the ‘cockpit’ of the boat with all controls within arms’ reach, so the sailing isn’t physically demanding. Also the boat is insensitive to different sailor sizes, as body weight is always close to its centre of gravity. This is why we get such equal and intriguing competition.'
Poole has an excellent, long-standing relationship with the International 2.4mR class, particularly through the biennial International Paint Poole Regatta, hosted by the combined yacht clubs of Poole. It was at the 2012 event on May Bank Holiday that the Poole YC was approached to host the 2013 International 2.4mR Worlds. It was an opportunity the club didn’t hesitate to accept.
Tim Edom, the Poole YC Rear Commodore (Sailing), said: 'It’s been a lot of very hard work in a very short space of time, but when you’re offered the chance to stage such a prestigious event, you don’t turn it down. We’re very honoured to be hosts and look forward to welcoming so many world class sailors to compete on Poole Harbour’s stunning waters.'
Sweden’s Peter Andersson won the 2012 International 2.4mR Open Worlds title in Italy last September, where Skandia Team GBR sailor and Rio 2016 Paralympic hopeful, Megan Pascoe, took bronze. Britain’s Helena Lucas, the only female in the London 2012 2.4mR Paralympic fleet, had made history as she won Paralympic 2.4mR gold at Weymouth and Portland earlier that month.
All racing will take place in the world famous Poole Harbour, which typically presents tidal, flatter conditions with a South-Westerly prevailing wind.
Sponsorship opportunities for the event are still available. Interested parties should contact Fiona Rainback at email@example.com
For more information visit www.24mworlds2013.co.uk - entries for the 2013 International 2.4mR World Championships will be open by Friday 1 February.