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Hansa national champs

Record numbers for Hansa national champs

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This weekend's Hansa national championships in Wellington will be the biggest yet, with 60 sailors from around the country and Australia taking part.

This year's event will be hosted by Sailability Wellington and will also incorporate the national blind sailing regatta.

Most of the participating sailors, which includes a number of able-bodied sailors, are affiliated with Sailability clubs across the North Island (Northland, Auckland, Tauranga, Taranaki, Wellington), but there will be a handful from Sailability Nelson and Sailability Dubroyd (Sydney, Australia) will also be attending for the first time.

Sailability is an international programme aimed at providing sailing opportunities to people with disabilities who would otherwise be excluded from the sport. Disabilities include sensory, intellectual and physical impairments; but to see the sailors out on the water, you would never guess the challenges they’ve overcome to enjoy their chosen sport.

While some are capable of sailing solo or single handed, others require support in the form of an additional crew member who may also have a disability or be able bodied.

Sailability Wellington has been running for 18 years. Sailing takes place six days a week across three locations in the region where they are affiliated with the resident sailing club - Evans Bay, Seaview and Titahi Bay.

It's growing in popularity and the club runs at maximum capacity with 200 members ranging in age from 7 to 67. These include private individuals, as well as those coming through school programmes or care facilities. 

A series of multi-day race coaching clinics were held in the leadup to racing in the national championships, which start tomorrow in the vicinity of Seaview Marina.

The Hansa national championships is a public event and there will be a spectator boat in operation. The regatta shore base will be located at the far end of the main marina car park from February 21-23.

See here for more information about Sailability Wellington or visit their Facebook page.