The RS Venture Connect World Championship starts today in Rostock, Germany. It is hosted alongside the 2023 edition of the Inclusion World Championship for Sailing as well as the inaugural U25 Para Sailing World Championship event.
While the Inclusion Championships entry requirements follow a format of two people per boat, one with and one without a handicap, the RS Venture Connect class can be and is crewed with two parasailors. As the President of the German Sailing Association, Mona Küppers, puts it: “This world championship in inclusive sailing shows that sailing is possible for everyone. Everyone can contribute their personal strengths to the team and the handicap is subordinate. Sailing together, getting to know each other and thus reducing each other’s insecurities and prejudices – that is inclusion!”
Participants from 7 nations will be competing in the RS Venture Connect class while across the entire Inclusion World Championship for Sailing there are 28 crews entered from 7 nations. Competitors have come from as far as Canada and Australia to race in the outstanding sailing area off Warnemünde.
Inclusion is at the heart of the championships. The sailing club Norddeutschen Regatta Verein, which was already dedicated to promoting young people in sailing, pushed for a major inclusion campaign in 2019. This saw a renovation happen to the clubhouse and harbour so they could accommodate all sailing abilities. This led to the club hosting the first ever World Championship in Inclusive Sailing in 2020 and it’s now proud to welcome back the fourth version of the event as it hosts for a second time now in 2023.
Continuing the theme of sustainable sailing; the event is low-threshold access. Crews have been invited to attend with light luggage only as all the boats are provided at the event – making it even easier for competitors to participate. Part of the RS Venture Connect fleet has been donated by the Heinz Kettler Foundation and will remain afterwards to be used for other occasions. The lighthouse project is designed to inspire more people and clubs for inclusive sailing beyond the championships.
The RS Venture Connect fleet are fresh from racing in the Para World Sailing Championships in the Hague, Netherlands, where they hosted the Open Two Person Technical class – won by France’s Ange Margaron and Olivier Ducruix. It was the first time that parasailing events were held at the Sailing World Championships and more than 70 parasailors took part in the competition. Dan Jaspers, International Sales and Business Development for RS Sailing, is proud that these events are helping to grow the ‘Para Pathway’ activity in the not-too-distant future.
“These events are not purely about the on-water racing. They’re also a chance for us to spend time discussing the development of RS Venture Connect Class activity within the countries of the teams represented at the events, many of whom do not yet have RS Venture Connect sailing boats in use within their programs. I am convinced that the work we have done to develop Inclusive Sailing globally is paying off. RS Sailing remains committed to working with key stakeholders such as Para World Sailing to continue this work.”
The RS Venture Connect SCS takes accessible boats to the next level, with simple, modular ways of adapting the boat to a variety of disabilities, right down to electronic inhale/exhale steering devices. Everything can be retrofitted on the same boat. This feature makes it possible for clubs, foundations and other organizations to run the parasailing program on a long-term basis. Costs and time can be saved, and in return even more sailors can be offered unforgettable experiences.
The World Championship will showcase this on the big stage. Live recordings on the water will be broadcast via Sailtracs and you can find out more about the event at Inclusion World Championship for Sailing 2023. Watch, support the sport and be inspired. Good luck to all the competitors with racing starting today!