36 teams, 19 nations, 3 days of racing, 2 days of training clinics, 1 award ceremony. We are less than two months away from the parasailing event of the year. Hosted by Oman Sail in the Barcelo Mussanah Resort using the RS Venture Connect, we will see the best para sailors from around the world come together to race, make new friends and meet old friends.
We caught up with Christopher Symonds who will be representing team Australia. Here’s what he said.
Why did you sign up to the RS Venture Connect World Championship?
2022 is such an important year for para sailing. I am committed to promoting World Sailing’s Back the Bid Campaign to have sailing reinstated into the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympics. Our partner, Coins, have been amazing in supporting us at regattas in Australia, Italy, UK and Japan. Para sailors must unite behind the bid to have sailing back in 2028. This event will see the two person RS Venture Connect host it’s first World Championships with many of the world’s best para sailors entering the competition. After visiting the RS factory while in the UK in June where we were welcomed to look over the RS Venture Connect as there are no boats in Australia, it was here I decided we should compete. I am now super excited to be a part of the inaugural World Championship for the RS Venture Connect.
What’s your sailing background?
I started sailing when I was 10 years old in the New Zealand designed “P Class” trainer. When I was 16, I sailed the two person Cherub Class until my mid-twenties. I then moved to the 470 Class for a few years. Between sailing and windsurfing for another three years, I moved to a 6.5 metre trailer sailor for 20 years for family cruising and racing.
I started racing the Hansa Class in 2014 after progressive effects of Kennedys Disease (KD) made it difficult and unsafe to transfer side to side on a standard yacht. I have enjoyed racing the 303, the most popular Para class, winning three World Championships in Doubles, Singles and Para.
Why do you choose to sail the RS Venture Connect?
I live with Kennedy’s Disease a progressive disease that effects Motor Neurons with no cure of treatment. My strength is limited but as a team we can achieve the highest level which is so rewarding. I enjoy sailing with crew opposed to alone. I truly enjoy teaching others and sharing my knowledge. Teamwork is critical in my life to do the simplest things, either at home, work, or sailing. I have never had the opportunity to sail the RS Venture Connect, but we arrive early in Oman to train before the Worlds. A great learning and fun experience will await us!
Christopher Symonds and Michiel Geerling