By Graeme Adam
The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and ill service men and women, both active duty and veteran. The Games promote the healing power of sport and physical activity to inspire recovery and support rehabilitation.
Invictus Games Sydney 2018 presented by Jaguar Land Rover will see 500 competitors from 18 nations will compete in 11 medal sports. A record 72 Australians will compete across all sports with six competing in the sailing competition.
On Sunday 21 October, the sailing competition will be staged around Farm Cove on Sydney Harbour. There will be two classes of boat in the sailing competition – the Elliott 7 and the Hansa 303.
Australian-designed and made Hansa sailcraft are pioneers in the field of adaptive sailing, implementing features such as joy stick steering (instead of tiller) and a forward-facing sling seat ensuring the sailor is secure within the stable boat. Hansa Sailing Systems are generously donating eight new sail suits to Sailability for the boats to be used in the competition and will stay with each hull after the event.
The Elliott 7 is a state of the art seven metre racing yacht from a New-Zealand company acknowledged as a world leader in yacht racing design.
Squadron Leader Robert Saunders is the 2018 Australian Invictus Games Sailing Team Captain. Rob is responsible for the management of both sailing teams and skippering the Elliot 7 team. Rob joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1984. He has seen service in Australia, USA, Japan, Israel and Afghanistan. He is currently based in Canberra with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) Pittwater Coach Tom Spithill is Sports Competition Manager for sailing. Tom is responsible for delivery of the sailing competition and has been instrumental in establishing adaptive sailing opportunities at RPAYC. The RPAYC has provided unprecedented support to the 2018 Australian Invictus Games Team with the provision of yachts, coaches and support vessels.
For the Hansa 303s, there will be up to eight boats starting. Two of those boats will be crewed by former ADF personnel who both happen to be from Townsville.
Davin Brereton joined the Australian Army in 1987 as a Driver and deployed to Somalia as an Infantryman with 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) in 1992-93. He discharged from the ADF in 2001.
Peter Arbuckle joined the Australian Army in 1989 and served in 2/4 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (2/4RAR) including a deployment to Cambodia in 1992-1993 before being discharged in 1997.
The Hansa boats will be supplied and prepared by Sailability NSW, a member association of Sailability Australia, the peak body for sailing for people with disabilities in Australia and a committee of Australian Sailing. Sailability is supplying the boats, insurance, transport and volunteers to look after each boat. Sailability Manly is playing a lead role in supplying the boats with support from Sailability Middle Harbour.
Find out more about Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at https://www.invictusgames2018.org/.