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Two Canadian Olympic sailors looking to qualify Canada in Sunfish for the 2023 Pan American Games

by Sail Canada 27 Mar 2023 17:54 PDT March 30 - April 1, 2023
Canadian Olympic sailors Luke Ramsay and Lee Parkhill © Sail Canada

Luke Ramsay from Vancouver and Lee Parkhill from Oakville, ON, two Canadian sailors who have represented Canada at past Olympic Games, will take part in the Sunfish United States National Championships at Midwinters, March 30-April 1 in Pensacola, Florida, and will look to qualify one spot for Canada in the Sunfish class at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

Ramsay won the silver medal in Sunfish at the last two editions of the Pan American Games, in Toronto in 2015 and in Lima in 2019, and he will be looking to add a third in Santiago. He also took part in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where he respectively took the 25th position in Two-Person Dinghy (470) with Michael Leigh and the 15th spot in Nacra 17 with Nikola Girke.

"The Pan American Games, one of the most fun events to compete in, is also a chance to sail in a new class which suits my strengths pretty well. After losing twice, I am really hungry to finally take home a win in 2023. But first, it looks like a tough road to qualification," said Luke Ramsay, who welcomed a new baby in his family over the last month.

Lee Parkhill represented Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, both times in the Laser (ILCA 7) class. In Rio, he took the 23rd spot, while he won the bronze medal at home in Toronto.

"After finishing the Olympics in 2016, I shifted gears to complete an MBA and began my journey in the corporate world, all while growing my family," said Lee Parkhill. "One constant has been that I've never lost the desire to do more competitive sailing. I'm excited to challenge myself by jumping into a Sunfish rig and try a new class on the international stage, and hopefully inspire my daughters, and others, to chase their dreams along the way."

"Luke is one of the best sailors in Canada and he has had tremendous success in Sunfish," added Parkhill. "We are also great friends, so I'm looking forward to training with him and racing against him once again."

The Sunfish United States National Championships at Midwinters will be the first of three opportunities for countries to qualify spots in the Sunfish class, a non-Olympic class, for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, as the top three will earn their ticket to the Games as per Panam Sailing qualification criteria (panamsailing.org). A total of 68 sailors from nine different countries are registered for this event.

If Canada qualifies, the lone spot available will be awarded to the sailor who will be the top Canadian at the 2023 North American Championships, to be held June 8-11 in Springfield, Illinois.

More information on the selection process for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games is available at www.sailing.ca/sc_event/2023-pan-american-games.

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