A day of performance sailing for Hong Kong disabled sailors

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  • Disabled sailors from Sailability Hong Kong took to the waters in the new high performance racing catamarans, the M32s
  • Light winds did not hinder the enthusiasm of the day with high speed sailing all round

On Sunday, 15 sailors from Sailability enjoyed an afternoon on one of Aston Harald’s new high performance catamarans, the M32. Sailability Hong Kong is a charitable organisation supporting the disabled community in their ambitions to sail and to ultimately develop paralympic sailors and Asian Para Games medalists.

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The weather conditions looked challenging as the morning’s forecast predicted only 1 to 5 knots and thunderstorms, but it was the will and enthusiasm that naturally attracted great sea breeze conditions, sending the sailors around Shelter Island at speeds in excess of 15 knots (28 km/h).

“All of the Sailability Hong Kong sailors were very excited to be invited out on the M32. We have never experienced anything like it before. The sailors regularly train and compete using International 2.4mRs, which are single-handed monohulls. Sailing on an M32 with its huge trampoline and flying hulls was a completely different experience – it was an exhilarating day that we all enjoyed” said Ed Tang, Hong Kong Sailability coach.

sailing on an M32…was a completely different experience – it was an exhilarating day

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It was evident through the cheering and beaming smiles that the day had provided an unforgettable experience for this group of extremely inspiring people; “A day that the sailors will never forget” said Virgile Bertrand, Hong Kong Sailability volunteer and president of the Hong Kong 2.4 Metre Class Association.

America’s Cup and Around the World sailor Nick Moloney who attended the day elaborated; “I am a previous coach and active fundraiser for the Sailability fleet, and trained the Australian paralympic sailing team for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Today was about recognising a great aspect of our sport, a strong fleet of sailors and simply fantastic people who do not even realise how inspiring they are to others. It was a great day on the water!”

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The M32s are made of carbon fibre and weigh in at just 500kg so they only require a small amount of breeze to propel them forward. On a light day in five knots of wind, the boats can fly a hull and move at more than double the wind speed. Their top speeds are in excess of 25 knots (46 km/h).

The M32s are currently in Hong Kong as part of Aston Harald’s ambitions to create teams around the world to participate in the M32 Series and the World Match Racing Tour with its million dollar prize money.

Words and photos by Nicola Evans

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