Last month, Helena Lucas, Bronze and Gold Paralympic Medallist was announced to help establish and steer the new RS Venture Connect Class.
World Sailing selected the RS Venture Connect back in November for the 2018 Para World Championships in Sheboygan, USA and chose to include it in the Para Development Program (PDP). The RS Venture’s plug & play para options mean the boat can be quickly configured to suit sailors with a wide range of disabilities, making round-robin racing in supplied boats possible. Click here to find the Notice of Race.
Helena Lucas recently shared her thoughts on the boat and the task of helping to set up the RS Venture Class.
“It quickly became apparent we were going to be privileged with a format change, and the new proposed format of stadium racing with a knock out round going into semi-finals and a final, is an exciting step for Paralympic Sailing.”
Configuration for the Para Worlds in Sheboygan is currently the two-seat set up, but there are discussions to have the option for one seat with the crew being able to move around the boat and hike as required. With the sailors backing, Helena and the team at RS are confident this is a hugely positive step and will help bring the extremes of disability together and compete on a level playing field.
“I have had some really positive feedback from sailors, excited by the opportunity to be more physical in the front of the boat, whilst still catering for the more disabled athletes who can take up the seated helming position. With the 8 point system we are trying to encourage a mix of disabilities to come together and sail with each other and with an extra point up for grabs if your female, support more female participation in our sport.”
RS Sailing will supply eight boats so sailors can compete at the Worlds by simply travelling themselves – massively reducing their own and federation’s competition costs and largely removing the logistical difficulties and footprint associated with shipping boats. The plan is to trial a stadium style format close to the shore, with heats leading to a final – launching a dramatic new era for para racing.
2018 is not only a big year for the RS Venture Connect Class but for all RS Sailing racing Classes, Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy host the RS Games. The RS Venture Connect have been confirmed for having an event from 13th – 15th August. For more information on the RS Games visit the official RS Games website.
The RS Venture Connect, with its pathway and accessible competition format opportunities, represents a positive development for sailing during its bid for Paralympic reinstatement. RS Sailing is proud to have developed the boat and be supporting this effort.
Contact Helena Lucas at [email protected] on Class activity matters.