Growth continues for Para World Sailing
Published on October 5th, 2021
Para sailing crews from 16 nations are vying for titles at the Hansa World Championships 2021, with racing on October 5-9 in Palermo, Italy. The Hansa Worlds allows para sailors to compete in 303 Single, 2.3 Single, 303 two-person, and Liberty class events.
For many of the sailors this is their first taste of international competition and to help with preparations, World Sailing supported seven nations with travel costs, accommodation and by providing boats to the teams as part of the Para Sailing Development Program (PDP).
Sailors from Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania and the Philippines will also receive coaching support during the World Championship as World Sailing aims to increase worldwide participation and expand the competition.
“Our goal is to make sailing more inclusive, increase participation and create new opportunities for para sailors to train, compete and excel on the water,” said Massimo Dighe, Paralympic sailor and Para World Sailing Manager in World Sailing.
Tony Sanpere, 81, (St. Petersburg, FL) is the lone North American as he competes in the Hansa 303 singlehanded division. Sanpere is a combat wounded disabled Viet Nam veteran (U.S. Army, retired) and benefits from the disabled sailing program offered by the Veterans Administration and also works with the sailing program of the Wounded Warriors in St. Petersburg.
Sanpere is among the many people with disabilities around the world that enjoy learning to sail and to compete against other sailors. Specially outfitted boats, such as his Hansa 303, allow even the most severely handicapped person to escape safely the bonds of being on land and to control a small vessel on their own.
Since para sailing had been removed as a Paralympic sport after the Rio 2016 Games, it has been a focus of World Sailing to heighten world-wide participation for inclusion in the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympics.
As a result, Para World Sailing has grown rapidly, with more than 32 nations participating internationally each year at various World Championships. By 2023, World Sailing aims to have 45 nations from six continents participating in all levels of Para sailing and inclusive events.
Source: World Sailing, Ellen Sanpere