While the 2016 Summer Paralympics are still a year off, Australia has already qualified a boat for the Games in this event. Looking ahead towards possible team selection, Australia has some depth in this class, with three different sailors to chose from. The obvious selection is Matthew Bugg, who is currently ranked fifth in the world and represented Australia at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in Australia. His current 5th place ranking is an improvement from March when he was ranked seventh. Neil Patterson is Australia’s second option, and is currently ranked thirty-third in the world. Mark Durnan is Australia’s third option. He is currently ranked sixty-first in the world, down from sixtieth in March.
What events these sailors have been competing at in the past three months can be difficult to track. Garda and Trentino Olympic Week, which took place earlier this month and had a 2.4 meter event, has no ISAF results published on their website. The Australians passed on participatin in the Trofeo Sar Princess Sofia, which took place in Palma de Majorca in late March and early April of this year. Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Regatta in New Zealand in March had this class on their program, but only New Zealand competitors took part. At the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres in April, Matt Bugg went into the final day of competition in seventh place but managed to pull off a colossal upset and win a silver medal. Tasmanian Neil Patterson finished fourteenth at the same event.
Australia has been relatively busy and competitive in this class in the past few years. Events they have participated include 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, 2014 Delta Lloyd Regatta, 2014 Sail for Gold Regatta, 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, 2014 Sail Sydney, 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Regatta, 2014 IFDS Combined World Championships, 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, 2013 IFDS Combined World Championships.
Australia has never medalled in this event on the Paralympic level, though they did have sailors competing at the 2012 Summer Paralympics.
If you’re interested in following Australian sailing on Facebook, there are a number of pages you can watch including https://www.facebook.com/pages/List-of-Australian-Paralympic-sailing-medalists/452506508105929 , https://www.facebook.com/MattBugg2.4mracing , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-ACT/610501408992701 , https://www.facebook.com/sailabilityAW , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-Australia/118919774860222 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-Callala/526057440793169 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-Gosford/122434247840473 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-Manly/457800940925743 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-NSW-Port-Macquarie/734026356689620%20, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-Penrith-Lakes/135091969905879, https://www.facebook.com/SailabilityPortStephens , and https://www.facebook.com/shorncliffesailability , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-Victoria/144800372245585 .
Hosts Brazil automatically qualified for the 2016 Summer Paralympics by virtue of being hosts. At last year’s World Championships in Halifax, Canada, several countries qualified 2.4 mR boats with the final decision as to who would be on those boats up to the NPC. Countries that earned qualifying berths included Germany, Great Britain, France, Australia, United States, Canada, Norway, and Finland.