Kinsale is buzzing this weekend as yachts from across the globe dock for the IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships.
Synonymous with sailing, the Co Cork town beat off stiff competition, in 2010, from cities such as Perth in Australia and Qingdao in China to host the week-long event.
After three days of registration, the opening ceremony is tomorrow and the event runs until next Friday.
It has reportedly attracted about 75 boats, 120 competitors, 50 coaches, and hundreds of friends and family to Kinsale.
It is the main paralympic event since the London 2012 Games and is one of only three World Championships leading up to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
The opening event will take place in the James O’Neill building at 6pm before participants parade to Kinsale Yacht Club to present their nation’s flags. Racing will start on Monday with two races scheduled every day until Friday.
Much of the Irish interest will be focused on 10-time paralympian, local man John Twomey, who will be taking part in the Sonar class. He is a member of the Providence Team IRL for Rio in 2016 and is also president of the International Association of Disabled Sailing.
The New Zealand team is also jam-packed with class and includes two sailors who won multiple world titles before both being diagnosed with MS.
David Barnes, who has competed in six America’s Cup campaigns, including as skipper of the 1988 ‘Big Boat’ challenge in San Diego, has won three 470 class world titles and competed in a wide range of international keelboat events. He also took part in the 2005/2006 Volvo Ocean Race
His crewmate Richard Dodson has won the America’s Cup twice, the One Ton Cup twice, the OK world championships twice and the Admiral’s Cup once, amongst a host of other achievements. The pair will be followed by a New Zealand TV crew who are making a documentary on their participation in the event.
Disability Minister Kathleen Lynch who was in Kinsale yesterday said: “Kinsale is synonymous with sailing and it is a major coup for the town to be able to attract such a prestigious event. The competitors in these championships are at the top of their field and a great testament to the Paralympic movement. I wish all of the participants every success and hope they and their supporters will enjoy all that Kinsale has to offer.”
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