The final event of the European leg of SailGP takes place on the 14th-15th October 2023 in the vibrant Cádiz, an ancient port city in the Andalucía region of Spain. In the run-up to the Spain Sail Grand Prix, Swiss SailGP Team is proud to host the WE Foundation SailGP One Sport Race, taking place on Thursday 12th October in front of SailGP’s Technical site.
Swiss SailGP team is committed to using its sporting platform to champion One Sport and since it started competing in the global league, together with its main and race for the future partner Stiftelsen VI (WE Foundation), has developed projects that help to build on including more inclusivity within the sport of sailing. One of these projects is the One Sport Race concept, supported by World Sailing and RS Sailing.
Swiss SailGP Team CEO, Tanguy Cariou: ‘The objective of the One Sport race is to show that our sport is accessible to all, and that sailing can be truly inclusive. This is our third event and the biggest one yet. We are excited to welcome so many sailors to join us in Cadiz, ahead of the Spain Sail Grand Prix this weekend.”
The WE Foundation SailGP One Sport Race, will see SailGP athletes, including Swiss driver Sébastien Schneiter, and 10 para sailors team up to race in the RS Venture Connect, an inclusive sailing boat that is designed to be sailed by both disabled and able-bodied people of all abilities. The RS Venture Connect SCS takes accessible boats to the next level. It uses simple, modular ways of adapting the boat to a variety of disabilities, right down to electronic inhale/exhale steering devices.
A waterproof joystick controls the rudders while also enabling the mainsail to be trimmed in/out. A captive winch system, enclosed in a watertight housing, operates using 3D printed limit switches to eliminate over sheeting. Everything can be retrofitted on the same boat.
One sport, in practice, becomes one team as the crew utilises each other’s strengths, regardless of ability.
Norwegian based Stiftelsen VI is a foundation that is dedicated to creating equal opportunities. The Foundation’s aim is to create a better quality of life for people living with disabilities. Four times Paralympian and multiple World Champion, Bjørnar Erikstad, is CEO. “Sailing has a unique opportunity to show the rest of the sporting society how inclusion can be done. By combining adaptive design with the mentality of giving possibilities to all.
“We hope that sport can make an arena for coping experience on other platforms as well. And we are really excited that SailGP has taken a clear stand in this matter. They have understood that social sustainability is one of the key metrics for making our world more sustainable.”
The WE Foundation SailGP One Sport Race is designed to do just that. The SCS equipment on the RS Venture Connect levels the playing field so everyone can enjoy the racing.
The event starts at 15:00 with a sailors briefing, followed by six rounds. Each team will sail three races and the top three teams, after the six heats, will race in the final race. Just like in SailGP. Afterwards, competitors are invited back to the Swiss base for prize giving, dinner and drinks and a look round the Swiss team's F50 race boat, Eiger.
Four-time Paralympian and triple World Champion, Hannah Stodel, who is also the Para World Sailing Manager, has been helping to coordinate the competitors. “Sailing is one of the only sports that I believe can call itself truly inclusive; we are very much leading the way showing what Inclusivity is.
“Where else can you see athletes of any disability, racing on a level playing field with access to equal opportunities? This programme thanks to the Swiss SailGP Team and the Stiftelson Vi foundation is the catalyst for change in the way we think and view accessibility. It’s giving athletes a chance to compete on equal terms- it is something to be celebrated.”
The WE Foundation SailGP One Sport Race takes place in Cadiz on Thursday 12 October at 15:00pm local time.