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.
The United qualified a boat in the SKUD 18 class through their performance at the 2014 World Championships. The country has a lot of depth, with three potential boats all vying for the NPC nomination spot. Ryan Porteous and Cindy Walker are currently ranked fifth in the world, while Sarah Everhart Skeels and Gerard Tiernan are at a personal best sixth in the world. Porteous and Walker are down from a personal best third in the world in December 2014. The United States could also look to Paul Callahan and Maureen Mckinnon-Tucker who are ranked fifteenth, though they have been as high as seventh.
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.
The country is one of the most active on the international circuit, with the country regularly having its nationals competing in events. Some of the most recent events they have participated in in the past few years include 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, 2014 IFDS Combined World Championships, C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Regatta 2014, C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Regatta 2013, C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Regatta 2012, and 2013 IFDS Combined World Championships.
Despite the lack of high ranking, the United States should not be ruled out. They need to be watched as potential Paralympic favorites as the country won silver at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, and gold at the 2008 Summer Paralympics.
If you are on Facebook, there are a number of United States disability sailing pages to watch including https://www.facebook.com/baadsveteransailing , https://www.facebook.com/JGASF , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sail-To-Prevail-The-National-Disabled-Sailing-Program/187998341211044 , and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sailability-Pittsburgh/897860396897762 .