The 3rd round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup are underway in Miami and there are high hopes for the British Adaptive Sailors if the wind finally picks up to enable them to race. There are three disabled categories in the Sailing World Cup, 2.4mR, SKUD 18 and SONAR.
Racing for GB in the 2.4mR category are Megan Pascoe (currently ranked number 1 in the world) and Helena Lucas MBE (the 1st British Sailor ever to win Paralympic Gold). In the SKUD 18 category is the pairing of Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (Bronze medal winners at London 2012 and winners of 4 World Championship titles). The 3 person team of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas will race in the SONAR category.
Racing is scheduled to run until Saturday 1st February and we wish the best of luck to all 39 British Sailors competing both in the Disabled and Able Bodied categories.
Sailing for disabled people has been increasing in popularity since the mid-80’s. Competition is open to all physical impairment groups and athletes with visual impairments, the classification system is a based on points given for levels of functionality (see the British Paralympic Assocaition website for more details).
RTSIC Case Study
In 2011/12 a 2nd year Bioengineering Group Project focused on developing a navigational aid to enable visually impaired athletes to sail in single-person keel boat classes such as the 2.4mR . The team developed a Bluetooth based communication system along with a haptic feedback harness for the sailor and an interface app for use by coaches to act as remote guides to provide navigational information. Check out their project poster here.