The registration list for the 2016 Hansa Worlds SKUD18 , scheduled to get underway in the Netherlands on June 3, includes only six SKUD18 class boats, of which 2.5 are disability sailing entries. Early bird registration for the event closed on Thursday.
Paralympic classified sailors registered for the event include Great Britain’s Christine Spray, who is sailing with non-disability classified sailor Neville Rose. It also includes the Netherland’s Rolf Schramaand Sandra Nap, and Italy’s Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti who qualified for Rio in SKUD18 at the 2014 World Championships.
This event is one of the last opportunities for international Paralympic sailors in the SKUD18 to gain valuable experience ahead of what may be the final year in the final Paralympic cycle for sailing. The 2016 Hansa Worlds bill themselves as an important event for those getting ready for Rio and the Games.
Low registration numbers in Paralympic class events is a problem for the sport, with lack of participation being one of the reasons the sport was cut from the program for 2020. In qualifying events, one class had every competitor who had not previously qualified at the 2014 World Championships qualify for Rio at the 2015 World Championships, signaling a lack of depth in elite participation levels. With the sport’s removal from the program, there appears to be even less incentive to support the existing classes of boats by event organizers. At last month’s ASEAN Para Games in Singapore, sailing was on the program but without a single 2016 Rio Games class sailing event. Instead, they had 303 and 2.3 class events.