Sailing is a Paralympic and Canada Games Sport. At the Canada Games the class of boat is the 2.4 meter boat or the 2.4 mR, the boat looks like a very small America’s cup boat from the days of the 12 meter boat, The “meter” is a mathematical formula, the 2.4 mR boat is actually 12 and a ½ ft long, with most of the weight of the boat in the keel so the boat will not dump or flip over for stability.
The 2.4mR is ideal for handicap integrated sailing since the sailor does not move in the boat, and everything is adjustable from right in front of the sailor. Both hand-steering and foot-steering are possible. The boat’s ability in integrated sailing has been proven on the result lists of several World Championships. In 2002 and 2005 there were handicapped World Champions. The boat is sailed without a spinnaker, but with a whisker-pole for the jib.
Since the helmsperson sits down in the boat facing forward with all the trim controls within arms reach, the sailing is not physically demanding and racing is done in one open class with men, women, young and old, able and disabled sailors racing together. Because the crew weight is always close to its centre of gravity, the 2.4mR is insensitive to differences in size of the helmsperson. Instead, 2.4mR racing focuses on sophisticated sail trim, tactics and strategy.
The 2.4mR soon became a popular class for its unique qualities and has now spread world wide. In 1992, the 2.4 Metre Class attained “International Status”, and official World Championships have been held annually since then, attracting 60-100 boats. Since the 2.4mR is so well suited for sailors with physical disabilities, it has been selected as the single-handed class at the Paralympics in Sydney 2000 where sailing for the first time was a full medal sport. The biggest fleets are found in the Scandinavian countries, Italy, England and Australia.
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