A new championship is looking for the next generation of Irish sailors to compete internationally.
On Saturday 6th & 7th of September the Inaugural Presidents Cup was held at Kinsale Harbour. The event was a new sailing championship to encourage sailors with disabilities to compete in the classes sailed at International and Paralympic level.
‘The Presidents Cup’ has been named in honour of 10-time Paralympian and current President of the International Disabled Sailing Association, John Twomey from Kinsale Yacht Club. John himself recently competed at the IDFS World Championships in Canada and still hopes to qualify for his 11th consecutive Games.
48 sailors, representing all four Irish provinces, competed in a series of six races, all in idyllic sailing conditions at Kinsale Yacht Club, in four different classes, including the the Hansa 303 and SKUD 18.
All four classes, Sonar, Skud, Squib and Hansa, raced in every race with sailors of mixed abilities, with varying physical, learning or sensory impairments and experience ranging from first time to race to past Paralympians. This event truly demonstrating that sailing is a sport for all and a sport for life.
A beautiful blue Kinsale sky and 15 knot breeze greeted the sailors for Day 2, raising the bar for competition. This allowed the race committee to run longer and more challenging courses which the competitors duly responded to and seen some really tight close racing. Some teams in their excitement even started pushing over their own teams in different classes, causing much discussion back on shore. As a first time event of this nature the standard of sailing was excellent and competition fierce with no holds barred at the start line and rounding marks.
The team from Munster took the win of this inaugural event. More information about the event, and to find out more about sailing Hansa Classes in Ireland, see the Sailability Ireland website.
(Story originally published on Sailability Ireland website. Photos by Robert Bateman)