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Paralympics: Why the 2.4 metre

This exciting, sophisticated single-handed boat has been used by sailors of all ages and abilities since the mid 80's. Although predominately in Europe it is now built in North America and Australia.Owing to it's design, where the sailor sits facing forward and all controls are led back to the cockpit, it was soon realised that the boat was particularly suitable for use by disabled sailors. At the same time it attracts top class able-bodied helmsmen.This was one of the reasons why ISAF (then IYRU ) agreed that the 2.4 should be recognised as an International Class in1992. The boat was demonstrated during the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona and it was hoped that a single-handed class would be accepted for the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. However, owing to restrictions in the overall numbers of athletes in the Atlanta games, this did not occur.Initially, only three person crew boats were to be included in the Sydney Paralympics but the authorities were eventually persuaded by the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing in conjunction with the International 2.4 Class Association to include a single handed class.The primary reason for this was that the 2.4 could be sailed competitively by almost anyone, irrespective of their disability. Where as crew boats ( Sonars) effectively exclude some people with severe disabilities owing to the size of the boat and the physical requirements needed to sail them.Competitors will have the option of taking their own boats to Sydney or alternatively, if this is not possible, some Australian built boats will be available for charter.The competition will be spread over 9 days and the Sonars and the 2.4,s will sail the same courses but shortened for the 2.4.

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