What now for Paralympic sailing?

Over the period of the London Boat-show, I was lucky enough to chat to a lot of people in the Marine industry, and it was surprising how many had the same question- what’s happening with Paralympic Sailing, and more to the point, will it get reinstated?

It’s no secret that I am a fairly vocal member of the Reinstate sailing movement, and I’ve not been shy when it comes to sharing my opinions on the subject, especially regarding the management of the sport, and how let down, we, the sailors feel by the muppets who previously ran the show. Lately however, I get the feeling that old habits die hard, as there has been very little activity, and yet again a distinct lack of information when it comes to the greater “strategic plan”.

Following the World Sailing Conference and the Para World Sailing Forum, I had high hopes, but since then, I’ve realised unless the management radically changes their attitudes and start listening to the sailors, the future for sailing within the Paralympics is looking pretty bleak.

The PWS Forum in Barcelona

Last week it seems Para World Sailing hosted a PDP (Paralympic Development Programme) Camp in Argentina for the emerging nations, but the only reason I found this out was through some photos posted on the personal Facebook page of the current PWS manager, Massimo Dighe.

The World Sailing Paralympic Development Program (PDP) helps Member National Authorities by assisting in the development of national disabled sail, training programs, including supporting the training of disabled sailors and their coaches through a number of dedicated performance clinics as well as helping to arrange classification opportunities for sailors that are not yet classified but wish to be in order to participate in competitive events. The PDP focusses on enabling the participating nations to grow sustainable training programs.
– via sailing.org

For the sake or our sports reinstatement, wouldn’t you as PWS, or even World Sailing be shouting from the rooftops about the PDP programme, showing the IPC that progress is being made? Or is it just me?

As Dan Jaspers, former Training & Development Manager at ISAF pointed out during the forum; social media, spectator friendliness and generally raising the profile of disabled sailing are going to be key-stones when it comes to getting us back in favour with the IPC and closer towards meeting their criteria for reinstatement.

So I ask myself why doesn’t Para World Sailing have its own facebook page, a twitter feed, and why don’t they post on instagram??
Why doesn’t World Sailing post regular updates about what is going on behind the scenes?
Why are they not posting news stories about disabled sailors?
The last update with any disabled news is from October 2016- quite frankly I find it bizarre that no one is picking up on this??

A screen shot from the WS website

With the 2017 World championships being scheduled to be held within Kiele Woche at the end of July, I found myself wondering who if anyone is planning on attending?

Before sailing got dumped from the Paralympics, the Sonar Teams around the World used to use a group email to arrange pre-regatta training and logistics. A lot of the time countries would only have 1 boat per class, so the best way to train pre-event wold be to join forces with the other teams and arrange “Coach regattas”.
The German Team reached out once again, trying to get an idea of how many teams are planing on attending the World Championships this year, however it soon became clear that the repercussions of sailing being dropped from the Paralympics are being felt world-wide.
Literally every team that replied, even the top Nations who used to have some considerable funding, and were well integrated into their National teams, all replied with a resounding “no”.

What resonates very strongly throughout the strategy document is World Sailing’s desire to grow disabled sailing and competition worldwide, with the target of having 32 competing nations on three continents for the 2017 Para World Sailing Championships next August, growing to 40 nations on four continents by 2020.

– via www.rya.org.uk

Clearly that’s not going to happen…

So once again, I find myself frustrated, annoyed and downright disappointed…

You can follow the Reinstate movement here:
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/ReinstateParalympicSailing2020/
Twitter- @ReinstatePWS

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