A unique world championship sailing regatta is being held in Auckland in January 2009 incorporating the IFDS One-Person World Championship.
For the first time in New Zealand, sailors with disabilities will be competing against able bodied counterparts in a world championship. The regatta will be a combined IFDS (International Association for Disabled Sailing) One-Person Dinghy World Championship and Access Liberty Open World Championship.
About 10 Access Liberties will be fitted with 'servo electric' sheet and helm winches, enabling sailors with severe disabilities to compete.
Sailability Auckland is hosting the inaugural event that's expected to draw at least 50 international sailors.
Spokesman Tim DEMPSEY says the long term aim is to have more yacht clubs around the world integrating sailors who have a disability into their competitions as there's no reason for these yachties not to compete in mainstream yacht races.
DEMPSEY says the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is the host Yacht Club and sailors will be located at the old Team New Zealand base at the viaduct in the heart of Auckland City.
The regatta will include a fleet of novice sailors (silver) and experienced sailors (gold). Racing for the Kiwi cup will be from the 26-31 January followed by a world teams racing event from the 1-3 February 2009.
Entries are already coming in from Canada and Australia with entries also expected from France, Great Britain, the USA and the Philippines.
DEMPSEY says the Kiwi Cup will be more than just a sailing regatta as it provides a real 'kiwi experience' in the City of Sails for the international competitors, both disabled and able bodied, and their supporters.
Event information will be available soon at www.sailabilityauckland.org.nz
ISAF Disabled Sailing microsite - www.sailing.org/disabled