Between October 14th and 21st, the waters of Portimão serve as the setting for the largest adapted sailing competition ever held worldwide, with 230 athletes competing.
The Hansa Worlds Portimão Championship is proof that the sea and the wind are for everyone, regardless of their physical condition. Each sailor brings with them an inspiring story of struggle and overcoming.
Around 230 sailors from 18 countries compete for the title of world champion in different classes, according to their level of disability/conditioning.
“The Hansa Worlds Portimão Championship will be the largest adapted sailing event ever held worldwide, playing a central role in terms of inclusion. The challenge covers all areas of society, including mobility, social inclusion and economic and cultural impact. It is a complex organisation with 11 management areas and in which more than 400 people will be involved daily”, says Luís Brito, director of the event.
The same organisation was responsible for holding, also in Portimão, the European Adapted Sailing Championship in 2019. In this 2023 World Cup, the number of participants has practically doubled, divided between the 5 Hansa classes.
The Hansa Class is characterised by having vessels that are almost impossible to capsize, with a low center of gravity and a ballasted beam. It is possible to add electrical controls (servo) that help control the rudder and sails for those with motor disabilities.
Portugal already has an outstanding CV in Adapted Sailing. This year, the duo Guilherme Ribeiro and Pedro Câncio Reis (from Vela Solidária) became runner-up in the world of the adapted RS Venture Connect class, which took place in The Hague, in the Netherlands. This Portuguese team made its debut in world competitions in 2022, the year in which it reached 3rd place on the podium at the Adapted Sailing World Championship in Oman.
For eight days the skyline of Portimão will be flooded with candles, in an event that goes far beyond the sporting sphere.
Each sailor brings with them an inspiring story of struggle and overcoming, such as Mary Duffy, who despite having no arms insists on coming from Ireland, her home country. Equally remarkable will be the participation of Dutch Wilma Den Broek, who sails her vessel using wind power – she has no arms or legs.
The presence of big names in Adapted Sailing is guaranteed at the Portimão World Cup, such as the Polish Piotr Cichocki, who has already participated in the Olympic Games and was world champion.
The opening ceremony of the Hansa Worlds Portimão Championship 2023 takes place on Saturday, October 15th, from 6:30 pm and will fill the Portimão City Hall square with sailors coming from seas around the world.