In just a few days 29 nations will be racing out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown, a small suburb of Melbourne, competing for the final Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition.
From 24 November to 3 December 2015, the 2015 Para Worlds is the final country qualifier for the 2016 Rio Paralympics sailing competition with sailors competing in three classes: the 2.4mR class for solo sailors, the SKUD18 class for a mixed crew of two, and the Sonar class which is for a three-person team.
There are 84 boats entered, 142 sailors from 31 countries. From that, just 35 athletes will book their spot at Rio 2016 in Melbourne. Seven spots in the 2.4mR, five in the SKUD18 and six in the Sonar will be up for grabs.
London 2012 Olympic gold medallists Helena Lucas (GBR) in the 2.4mR and Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) in the SKUD18 will be amongst the stellar cast on show in Melbourne.
Other London 2012 medallists making the trip include 2.4mR silver medallist Heiko Kroger (GER) and SKUD18 bronze medallists Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR). Silver and bronze medallists in the Sonar, Jens Kroker, Siegmund Mainka and Robert Prem (GER) and Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR) will also be on the start line.
Away from the elite competitors at the front of the fleet the fight will be on for the remaining Rio 2016 spots after the 2014 Championship saw the first 50% of spots snapped up.
At the end of August 2015, ten sailors from six nations attended the first Paralympic Development Program (PDP) clinic in Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain. Thanks to the PDP sailors from Czech Republic, Estonia, Hong Kong and Portugal are expected to compete in Melbourne, aiming for one of the lucrative Rio 2016 spots.
Ahead of the Melbourne Para Worlds, a second PDP will be taking place where sailors will benefit from on-water expertise, sailing in the Paralympic one-person keelboat, the 2.4mR, as well as daily on-shore briefings.