SHEBOYGAN — The Para World Sailing Championships will be held in Sheboygan this year according to event organizers.
The event, which will be held in September 2018, is being hosted jointly by World Sailing, Sail Sheboygan and the Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan.
The event continues the efforts of Sheboygan to become a hub for adaptive sailing for children and adults with cognitive or physical disabilities. In addition, the Para Worlds Sailing Championship is the definitive guide to the best-of-the-best in Para Sailing with clear objectives to showcase and develop paralympic sailing, create sporting heroes and engage sports fans, and excite sponsors and broadcasters.
“World Sailing is delighted that Sheboygan will be hosting the 2018 edition of the Para World Sailing Championships,” said Massimo Dighe, manager of Para World Sailing. “Sheboygan has an excellent track record of hosting major international sailing events. From the Nations Cup Grand Final to the Women’s and Blind Match Racing World Championships, the team on the ground and the town know what it takes to welcome top class sailors. The facilities are exceptional and I am sure the sailors attending will receive a warm welcome.”
Tom Atkins of Sail Sheboygan said hosting the 2018 Para Worlds helps fulfill Sail Sheboygan’s mission of bringing national and international competition to Sheboygan. In addition, it contributes to a commitment to facilitate adaptive sailing at all levels, from beginner sailors to competitors.
“The bulk of us are able-bodied, full-vision people who love the sport of sailing,” Atkins said. “When you see the sailors, whether they’re blind sailors or disabled people enjoying the same sport, and you see the challenges they are overcoming to do so, you just stand back and it’s awe-inspiring. This is a sport they are able to participate in because of the uniqueness of sailing – equipment can be engineered to help them overcome whatever disability they may have and help them compete at this sport.”
At World Sailing’s upcoming Annual Conference in Mexico, the future of the Para World Sailing will be discussed and debated as the sport aims for reinstatement into the Paralympic Games Sports Program.
“The 2018 Para Worlds is a pivotal event for World Sailing as the sport seeks reinstatement into the 2024 Paralympic Games,” Dighe said. “More than 80 sailors from 39 nations competed at the 2017 edition in Germany and we’re hopeful Sheboygan will welcome a similar number.”
Sheboygan, which has become known for hosting such events as the PGA Championships and is line to host the 2020 Ryder Cup, is excited to bring elite athletes to the community for the Para Worlds, Atkins said.
“We have developed a reputation for sailing and hosting competitive events that is second to none,” he said. “It puts Sheboygan in the spotlight and provides good vibes for the community that we are hosting literally a world-level sailing event. It’s a good image for the sailing community and a good image for the community as a whole. For participants to meet people from other countries from around the world and compete literally at highest level of their sport – that can only help and support the Olympic aspirations.”
Sheboygan was the host of the 2016 Women’s Match Racing World Championship and Blind Match Racing World Championship and the 2017 Blind Fleet Racing World Championship.