London 2012 Olympian Stephanie Hazard (Women’s Match Racing) and Paralympan Tim Dempsey (SKUD 18) have started training in their epic pairing for the 2013 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Regatta.
Together they will sail in the SKUD 18, a high performance skiff which is often sailed by sailors with a disability, but it was designed to be an integrated piece of equipment for people of all abilities.
“We shared the same boat storage compound for about three years” said Steph about how they ended up sailing together, “So we’ve spent a lot of time chatting while waiting in the queue to crane our boats into the water.”
“We went for our first sail together last week which was heaps of fun” Steph said. “The SKUD 18 is a great little boat, really well balanced and they move pretty quickly under gennaker.”
Together Tim and Stephanie will sail this boat in the J1 configuration for Oceanbridge Sail Auckland (2-5 February 2013) a different way than how it is sailed at the Paralympics- so that Steph will be out on trapeze rather than having both of them sitting in line. The boat was originally meant to be sailed in this way, as an exciting high performance boat for a disabled and non disabled person to sail it together.
Tim explained: “Having her on the trapeze will really flatten the boat a lot more, and make it a lot easier for me to steer. It will also be a great learning experience for me to sail with Steph as crew because as we know she is very experienced on the helm and her feedback will be invaluable”.
Both sailors are looking forward to getting back into their first big regatta since the Olympics or Paralympics; Steph has started her first “real 9-5 job” and Tim has been focusing on building up his business and spending time with his wife and two young sons.
“I always planned to have a quiet year after the Paralympics and to not do any international regattas” said Tim. “My London 2012 sailing partner Jan Apel and I will do some regattas together next year and then decide if we’re going to go for 2016”.
From the sounds of things there is some unfinished business for the Kiwi Skud 18 crew... so stay tuned !
Oceanbridge Sail Auckland will be held from 2-5 February 2013 at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club. Registration is now open online the new regatta website.