U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team Selection Set To Conclude at Para Worlds

Para World Sailing Championships 2015

Pictured: US national team SKUD-18 athletes will compete for a Rio 2016 berth in Medemblik, the Netherlands this week. Photo: Teri Dodds/World Sailing


May 23, 2016

Medemblik, the Netherlands – The 2016 Para World Sailing Championships (May 24-28), which will take place as part of the Delta Lloyd Regatta, will begin on Tuesday in Medemblik, the Netherlands. The event will be the final major gathering of Rio 2016 sailing medal hopefuls prior to the Paralympic Games in September, and will also serve as the last athlete selection event for the U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team. While Team USA athletes have already been selected in the three-person Sonar and one-person 2.4mR Paralympic sailing classes, The 2016 Para Worlds is the second of two regattas used to finalize athletes in the two-person SKUD-18 class.

The first regatta in the Rio 2016 selection series for the SKUD-18 was the 2015 Para Worlds in Melbourne, Australia (November 26 – December 3, 2015). Ryan Porteous (San Diego, Calif.) and Beijing 2008 SKUD-18 gold medalist Maureen McKinnon (Marblehead, Mass.) were the top American finishers in Melbourne (8th overall), and as a result will go into Medemblik with a slight lead in the series over Sarah Everhart-Skeels (Tiverton, R.I.) and Cindy Walker (Middletown, R.I.), who sit two points behind.

For McKinnon, a Paralympic Champion and the most experienced of the four athletes vying for SKUD-18 selection, this is a familiar stage. “I think that the selection process definitely gets easier every time, from a mental standpoint,” said McKinnon. “You really do have to treat this event like any other regatta. We have been training hard for months in Clearwater, Florida and over here in Europe. We feel ready.”

McKinnon also noted that she and her teammate Porteous, a first-time Team USA hopeful, were proud of the hours they had put in on the water leading up to the 2016 Worlds. “Paralympic sailors can’t train full-time, since we all have jobs and ‘real lives’, and in our team’s case, live on different coasts,” said McKinnon. “We are always trying to make the best of every hour we can get. It was also amazing having a place like Clearwater Community Sailing Center (a US Sailing Team Sperry National Training Center) equipped with SKUD-18’s and a generous staff. We couldn’t have done this campaign without them.”

To win Rio selection, Everhart-Skeels and Walker will have to beat Porteous and McKinnon by two places overall in Medemblik. “I would have to say that we’re very excited for this regatta to start, and we aren’t nervous at all,” said Walker. “Receiving messages from all of our friends and family has given us a huge boost. It’s also an amazing and supportive atmosphere here among our competitors, since everyone knows that this is the U.S. selection event. One of the other teams even gave us some good-luck flowers earlier. It’s been awesome.”

The American Sonar and 2.4mR athletes selected for Rio 2016 will also be competing in Medemblik. Sonar sailors Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Maine) will look to repeat their strong recent performance at Sailing World Cup Hyeres, where they finished on the podium. Similarly, Dee Smith (Annapolis, Md.) will also try to get the most out of racing against most of the top Rio medal hopefuls.

The 2016 Para World Sailing Championships (May 24-28) will begin with opening races on Tuesday, and will continue until Saturday in Medemblik, The Netherlands.

Note: All athletes selected for the Rio 2016 U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).

US Competitors: 2016 Para World Sailing Championships

SKUD-18 (Paralympic Two-Person Keelboat)

  • Ryan Porteous (San Diego, Calif.) and Maureen McKinnon (Marblehead, Mass.), US Sailing Team Sperry (national team)
  • Sarah Everhart-Skeels (Tiverton, R.I.) and Cindy Walker (Middletown, R.I.), US Sailing Team Sperry (national team)

Sonar (Paralympic Three-Person Keelboat)

2.4mR (Paralympic One-Person Keelboat)

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About the US Sailing Team Sperry

The US Sailing Team Sperry is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team Sperry. US Sailing helps these elite athletes with financial, logistical, coaching, technical, fitness, marketing and communications support. The title sponsor of the team is Sperry; other sponsors include Gold-Level partner Sunbrella and Silver-Level partners Harken, Team McLube and Groupe Beneteau. Yale Cordage is a team supplier. The US Sailing Center Miami is an Olympic training site. Oakcliff Sailing and Clearwater Community Sailing Center are US Sailing Team Sperry Training Centers. Chubb Personal Insurance and the Gowrie Group sponsors US Sailing’s National Team Tour, a nationwide presentation program for US Sailing Team Sperry athletes. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org/olympics

The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org

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Press Contact: Will Ricketson, Olympic Communications Manager, US Sailing. willricketson@ussailing.org, +1 (978) 697-2384.

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