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Sail Melbourne 2022 Day 4 - Para Sailing National Champions decided

by Michael Martin 16 Jan 2022 01:57 PST 13-17 January 2022
Sail Melbourne 2022, day 4 © Beau Outteridge

Three National Champions were decided at Sail Melbourne today, with the Australia Para Sailing National Championships concluding on another stunning Melbourne day.

Wynyard Yacht Club's Chris Symonds is the current World Champion in the Hansa 303 class, and he doubled down on that victory by finishing on top of the podium at Sail Melbourne 2022.

Symonds has joined Australian Sailing and Sail Melbourne to support World Sailing's #BackTheBid Campaign, which calls for Paralympic sailing to be reinstated for the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympic Games. "Sailing is a special sport because once you are on the water, disabilities are set aside," Symonds explained.

Symonds hasn't had the opportunity to sail at the Paralympics since he started sailing the Hansa 303 after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"Despite my motor neuron condition, I can still compete with able bodied people since the skills are the same". The proof is in the results, with Symonds winning all three of today's races.

As Vice Chair of the Para World Sailing Committee, David Staley has been a key driver in lobbying for the re-introduction of sailing on the Paralympic slate.

"There is huge aspirational value in the inclusion of sailing at the Paralympic Games," Staley shared.

"Exclusion of sailing from the Paralympic Games has meant that the sailors' able-bodied counterparts can aspire to the Olympics as the pinnacle event within the sport of sailing, whereas those with a disability have had this taken away from them."

The future of sailing can also be found in the youth of the sport, who have enthusiastically returned to racing the 29er, 420, iQFOiL, Techno 293 and ILCA 5 classes at Sail Melbourne 2022.

Windsurfing coach David Bell has a passion for creating a pathway for youth sailors in the class.

"It's about creating an inclusive environment for anyone who wants to have a go, and then supporting them in a competitive environment," Bell explained.

Bell emphasised the importance of a clear pathway for youth sailors, as well as creating a culture that keeps them engaged.

"To foster the next group of champions, the pathway is really important to ensure they learn the right things and have a good tribe of kids around them with an exciting culture."

The Tasars, RS100s, Wing foil and Waszp classes also wrapped up racing today.

Tomorrow's final day of racing is set to decide winners for the rest of the fleets, with the 49er class one to watch. Jim Colley and Shaun Connor from New South Wales lead Queensland pair and Sail Sydney champions Tom Needham and Joel Turned by a solitary point.

Sail Melbourne is supported by the Victorian Government.

Australian Sailing Team and Australian Sailing Squad Results:

ILCA 7 (10 boats)

1st: Matt Wearn (1), 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 - 7 pts

ILCA 6 (28 boats)

1st: Zoe Thomson 1, 3, 1, (10), 1, 1, 5, 1 - 13 pts
3rd: Mara Stransky 5, (RAF), 9, 1, 3, 2, 3, 2 - 25 pts
7th: Casey Imeneo (8), 2, 7, 6, 7, 8, 6, 5 - 41 pts

Mixed 470 (7 boats)

1st: Chris Charlwood and Amelia Catt 1, 2, 1, (2), 1, 1, 1, 1 - 6 pts
2nd: Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas 2, 1, 2, 4, 2, (8), 2, 2 - 15 pts

49er (6 boats)

1st: Jim Colley and Sean Connor 4, (7), 1, 3, 3, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3 - 28 pts
2nd: Thomas Needham and Joel Turner (7), 1, 7, 2, 1, 4, 3, 4, 1, 4, 1, 1 - 29 pts
4th: Tom Burton and Simon Hoffman 1, 5, 4, 5, 2, 2, 5, 3, 2, 5, (6), 2 - 36 pts
5th: Jack Ferguson and Max Paul 3, 2, 3, 6, 4, 6, (DNF), DNC, DNC, 2, 2, 4 - 46 pts

49erFX (5 boats)

1st: Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot 1, 1, (2), 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1 - 15 pts
2nd: Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan 2, 3, 1, 4, 1, 2, 1, (OCS), 1, 4, 1, 3 - 23 pts

Wind Foil (21 boards)

1st: Grae Morris (3), 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 - 15 pts

See full list of results here

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