Athletes from ten countries took part in the 2019 European Adapted Sailing Championships in Portugal.
Five days of competition took place in Portimao where 113 athletes competed for the title of European Champion in four classes, the Hansa 2.3, Hansa 303 Singles and Doubles, and the Liberty.
Hui Naval Club athlete Rui Dowling was crowned European Champion in the Hansa 2.3 – a class of smaller vessels – followed by André Bento (National School of Adapted Sailing), who took the silver medal in the same class. Third was the Dutchman Akko Van Der Deen who took the bronze.
In the Hansa 303 Singles, Joao Pinto – from the Naval Club of Portimo – took home Bronze in the first international race after 4 years out of sailing. Gold and silver went to Piotr Cichocki (POL) and Chris Symonds (AUS), respectively.
Polish duo Piotr Cichocki and Olga Gruzdien took the title of European champions in the Hansa 303 doubles, followed by Natalia Hillman-Bermejo and Allan Hillman of Britain, and the French duo Gilles Guyon and Olivier Ducruix.
In the first competition of its kind for the servo-assisted Liberty Class, the podium was all Dutch with Vera Voorbach, Wilma Van Der Broek and Hanneke Deenen taking all three steps.
Allan Hillman, an English athlete who has been a quadriplegic for over 20 years, said “It was one of the best championships I have had the pleasure of participating in and I have plans to return to Portugal soon”.
Between regattas, concerts, gin tastings, wine tasting, dinners and sea food, the Portimao Marina was the stage of five days of conviviality.
Associacao Teia D’Impulsos and Marina de Portimao Yacht Club have said they will try to bring the 2021 Adapted Sailing World Cup to Portugal. A challenge that seems to have been well accepted by the president of the international class.