Sailing was first introduced to the Paralympic Games in 1996 as a demonstration sport and became a medal sport for the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney.
Three boats will be raced at the 2008 Paralympic Games: the 2.4mR, a single-person keelboat, the SKUD-18, a two-person keelboat and the Sonar, a three-person keelboat. The high performance SKUD-18 makes its Paralympic debut this year in the coastal city of Qingdao, China. According to the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS), a SKUD-18 team must include one female and one person deemed a Functional Classification System (FCS) "1," or severely disabled, like a quadriplegic. Sailors are seated on the centerline for Paralympic events, but the boat can be sailed with or without either of the seats and configured to suit different sailors’ needs.
Because of its design and control, the 2.4mR was selected for single-person races. The boat's ease of use allows for a level playing field, making tactical knowledge the dominant factor in competition.
The Sonar uses a versatile crew-friendly design that is accommodating to athletes with physical disabilities. It is used by sailors of all experience and ability levels, from the novice to international competitors.
Paralympic sailing competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as amputation/limb loss, blindness/visual impairment, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke.
For the latest news, bios and photos of the U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team, please visit the U.S. Sailing Web site.
E-mail your questions about sailing. Find a local program in your community - visit the Paralympic Resource Network.
For more information on disabled sailing, please visit:
International Foundation for Disabled Sailing
Sonar Class Association
International 2.4m Class Association Sailors with Disabilities