As part of World Sailing’s reinstatement bid for the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games, they aim to:
- Increase worldwide participation to 45 nations on six continents
- Increase youth participation (below the age of 30) to 20% of total athletes
- Grow the number of female participation to 30% and ultimately achieve gender parity
As part of this effort, we have supported the RS Venture Connect class to activate regattas, strengthen the class and engage more para sailors from around the world. The RS Venture Connect is self-righting keelboat version of the RS Venture, with a lifting bulb keel for stability and a dry experience. Its large, self-draining cockpit makes it perfect for racing afloat. It offers a secure, multi-person boat for confidence-inspiring tuition and development. Designed with a plug & play parasailing equipment option, the RS Venture Connect can be set up for almost any disability – and quickly changed between sessions as required. From able-bodied to sip/puff electronic control, the RS Venture Connect does it all.
This is why we can’t wait to get all the top parasailors together in Oman this November to battle it out on the water. We spoke to Henriette, representing team Norway at the RS Venture Connect World Championship.
She said, “We are super excited to travel to Oman to compete in the Para World Sailing Championships this year! I wanted to participate last year, and finally, everything came together.
I started 20 years ago with Tallship sailing, and the boats have become progressively smaller over the years. I have sailed and raced in Norway, New Zealand, South Africa and USA, and I fell in love with dinghies while sailing the Club Flying Junior for the University of Oregon Sailing Team in 2015-2016. I learned a lot but also struggled with finishing races because of my disability.
Luck would have it that I connected with the parasailing program in the Norwegian Sailing Associating two years ago. They gave me the opportunity to use the RS Venture Connect SCS that was located at KNS Ulabrand, and I fell in love instantly. I spent last year practising and had hoped to participate in Travemünde, but sadly I was left without a partner.
Asker Seilforening took me in late last year, and with a new boat lent to us by the Norwegian Sailing Federation, and I could keep practising with and alongside the para program.
The crew that is joining me for the championship is Solfrid Lindhjem Kvinnesland. Solfrid started sailing a year and a half ago, but has taken a break away from it until this August. She reached out, super keen to sail as much as possible and she ended up crewing for me at a coaching clinic. Like me she craves being on the water and doesn’t care what the weather is like. In our minds the only bad weather is no wind, and even then we just climb aboard and practice on dry land. We’ve discovered that we function really well as a team, we are synchronised and in tune. And it was natural that I asked her to fill in when it was needed. Initially she was travelling with me because I needed someone to crew for the PDP coaching clinic and when unforeseen circumstances prevented my original crew from participating, she didn’t even have to think before saying yes to crew during the championship also.
We are super excited for the Oman Championship to be the start of a journey that we hope will take us all the way to Paralympics LA28 and beyond.”
Photo credit: Florian Conrads