Just one week before NZ’s Premier Olympic and Paralympic Class regatta, Oceanbridge Sail Auckland, the country’s top disabled sailors will sail in a mixed fleet against bodied people to contest for the Access Class National Championships and Kiwi Cup.
'It’s going to be a record turnout' said regatta chairman and London 2012 Paralympic sailor Tim Dempsey. 'We’re really pleased with the trend that our fleets of inclusive sail boats are continuing to grow; ultimately it’s proof that our efforts to get more people into the sport are working'.
From February 24-27th, the Access 303 class will have eleven boats competing which is two more than has ever been on a start line in NZ. This boat can be raced either single or double handed, and for this regatta at Royal Akarana yacht Club, seven will be sailing two up and just four are sailing solo.
'The fleet size is also significant because this year will be the first time we meet the quota to recognize the National Champion in the Access 303 double' Tim continued. 'We sail with an open fleet, which means people without a disability can race too.'
Access Class boats are boats made with inclusion in mind. They cannot be flipped, and they can be rigged to sail with electronic servos and the sailors stay seated in the centreline which takes away physical barriers unlike most other sail boats. Four entries have come from Australia; three are sailing in the Access 303 and one in the one person Access Liberty.
The Access Liberty will also have eleven boats competing which equals the number from last years’ National Championships. Brendan Tourelle, the Kiwi chairman of the International Access Class Association and Sailability Auckland, will be back to defend his National Championship title.
2013 will be the third time that the biennial Kiwi Cup will be awarded to the sailor/s with the lowest score across all classes at the regatta, with no discards. It will be contested across both the Access Liberty and Access 303; however only sailors/crews with a disability will be eligible to compete for the Kiwi Cup (Boats with non-disabled persons on board will be ineligible).
The Kiwi Cup and NZ Access National Championships will be sailed at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club from 24-27 January 2013. After prize giving on Sunday January 27th, Sailability Auckland will have a celebration dinner and auction for their 20th Anniversary. Tickets are just $60 and must be purchased by 12:00pm on Friday January 25th.
More info on the Kiwi Cup and National Championships click here
More info on Sailability Auckland’s 20th Anniversary click here
by Tim Dempsey
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11:56 AM Tue 22 Jan 2013GMT
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