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 SKUD 18 boats with the final decision as to who would be on those boats up to the NPC. Countries that earned qualifying berths in various classes included Australia, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, and the United States.
Great Britain’s Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrel also seem like they should have a lock on team selection for Rio. The pair finished second at the 2014 World Championships, and will almost certainly be the pair chosen unless something bad happens between now and Rio as Great Britain has limited international depth in this boat. They currently are ranked first in the world, a position they have mostly held since December 2010 when the oldest available rankings date to. Lucy Hodges and Alex Hovden have also been ranked for Great Britain, but they last appeared in the rankings in April 2014. David Durston and Christine Spray, and Judith Figgures and Graham Hall have also sailed for Great Britain but last appeared in the rankings in July 2012.
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 SKUD 18 event, has no ISAF results published on their website. ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères did not have SKUD 18 on their program. Trofeo Sar Princess Sofia, which took place in Palma de Majorca in late March and early April of this year, does not list results on the ISAF website for this class despite appearing on the program on ISAF’s website and the event is not referenced in the results of the organizers website. Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Regatta in New Zealand in March had this class on their program, but only New Zealand competitors took part.
As a sailing nation, Great Britain ranks as one of the top. Its sailors are among the most active on the international scene. In this class, the past few years have seen British sailors compete in the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, 2014 IFDS Combined World Championships, 2014 Delta Lloyd Regatta, 2013 IFDS Combined World Championships, and Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2014. This class is the least experienced for Team GB of the three Paralympic classes.
Great Britain might have a medal chance here based on recent past experience. The country won bronze at the 2012 Games in mixed two person SKUD18.
If you’re interested in following British sailing on Facebook, there are a number of pages you can watch including https://www.facebook.com/BelfastLoughSailability , https://www.facebook.com/pages/British-Sonar-Sailing-Team/373401947525 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cowes-Sailability-Club/154532091279574 , https://www.facebook.com/DartSailability , https://www.facebook.com/Disability.Sailing.Scotland , https://www.facebook.com/FoyleSailability , https://www.facebook.com/GBRParalympicSailingGirls , https://www.facebook.com/groups/137603413109295/ , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Helena-Lucas/143075199095648 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Isabella-Walsh-24mR-Sailor/124601180980521 , https://www.facebook.com/keith.white.disabled.sailor , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Megan-pascoe/283275068349866 , https://www.facebook.com/rudyardsailability , https://www.facebook.com/RutlandSailability , https://www.facebook.com/RYASailability , https://www.facebook.com/sailabilityscotland2012 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-Shorncliffe/204741289555668 , https://www.facebook.com/SailAbleBirmingham , https://www.facebook.com/SailingForTheDisabledIsleOfMan , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swac-Sailability/122879757817952 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Birrell-Rickham/118460393344 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Telford-Sailability/148663858480633 , https://www.facebook.com/pages/UK-Sonar-Class-Association/343359170547 , https://www.facebook.com/WashSailability , https://www.facebook.com/www.waveneysailability.co.uk