RS Venture Connect in World Sailing’s Para Programme

RS Venture Connect in World Sailing’s Para Programme

RS Venture Connect in World Sailing’s Para Programme

Recent months have seen remarkable progress for the RS Venture Connect. It began with adoption by World Sailing into its para sailing pogramme; continued by winning two top international marine industry awards and has been rounded off by one of the most successful sailing Paralympians coming on board to help establish the Class.

In November World Sailing selected the RS Venture Connect for the 2018 Para World Championships in Sheboygan, USA and chose to include it in the Para Development Program (PDP). The RS Venture’s plug & play para options mean the boat can be quickly configured to suit sailors with a wide range of disabilities, making round-robin racing in supplied boats possible. Click here to find the Notice of Race.

RS Sailing will supply eight boats so sailors can compete at the Worlds by simply travelling themselves – massively reducing their own and federation’s competition costs and largely removing the logistical difficulties and footprint associated with shipping boats. The plan is to trial a stadium style format close to the shore, with heats leading to a final – launching a dramatic new era for para racing.
Hot on the heels of selection for the Worlds the RS Venture’s electronic controls package, developed by RS in conjunction with Scanstrut, was announced as winner of the overall DAME award at the international METS show. This award is contested by innovative products from leading manufacturers across the whole marine industry and is considered by many to be the ultimate award. And if this wasn’t recognition enough, in January the electronic control system was also awarded the, some would say, equally prestigious Pittman Award for Innovation in the USA.
The RS Venture Connect clearly has a great future and contributes to the opportunity to build para sailing internationally. Who better to help develop the RS Venture Connect class than the effervescent Gold and Bronze medal winning sailor, Helena Lucas? “The combination of the RS Venture, supplied boats and the stadium format is almost certain to attract top teams” says Helena. “And at the other end the opportunity to create a pathway from training into racing could make a big difference to the sport, so I’m excited to put some of my time into helping make it happen!”
The RS Venture Connect, with its pathway and accessible competition format opportunities, represents a positive development for sailing during its bid for Paralympic reinstatement. RS Sailing is proud to have developed the boat and be supporting this effort.
You can see more information about the RS Venture Connect at or join in the conversation on Facebook. Contact the RS team via
Contact Helena Lucas at on Class activity matters.

Bronze At The Rio Paralympic Games

Bronze At The Rio Paralympic Games

I have many mixed emotions when I look back at the week of racing in Rio. I got off to a great start and managed to wear the first place yellow bib for five out of the six days of racing.  I found myself going into the last race still wearing it, although only one point ahead of Damien.  So to finish 3rd on the podium initially was a real disappointment.  To have my last memory of the Paralympic Games of that awful last race, having towed a plastic bag round the course, is one I am desperately trying to replace with the memory of feeling so proud standing on the podium with two amazing sailors.  Matt put in an outstanding performance and to win the last race after what I can imagine must have been an emotional & stressful evening and morning to take Silver shows true strength of character.  Damien showed amazing consistency all week in tricky conditions keeping clear of any trouble to come through and claim Gold in the last race.  A true Paralympic champion!

Waiting together to go up on the podium to receive our medals, my disappointment soon ebbed away, as we discussed the week, the tricky conditions and the pride and respect we had for each other.  The fact that this was our last Paralympic Games made the moment even more poignant.

With all the rush of media commitments and the medal ceremony I realised I had not seen or spoken to my coach Ian Barker since I had jumped out of the RIB in rather an emotional state!  Our reunion after the medal ceremony was far from unemotional, but over lunch the next day we reflected on what we had achieved together, Gold in London and Bronze in Rio.  Yes we would have loved another Gold medal and together with my husband Steve and the support team at the RYA, we had put in a lot of hard work, but so had my fellow competitors.  We should be proud of what we achieved!

So I would like to say thank you to Billy Barker “Super Coach”, for an amazing 6 years of Coaching, sail making and friendship.

Steve, my husband, for 20 years of continual love & support, advice, and his technical input

The support team at the RYA, past and present, in particular Ben Chell, Emilie Thienot, Linton Jenkins and Steve Mellors

My word Cloud Supporters, Volvo, North sails, Superspars and Harken.

Finally the 2.4mR fleet for amazing times, awesome racing and great friendship.  I am really going to miss the circuit.




The Worlds in Medemblik was always going to be highly competitive, with all the top sailors going to Rio keen to test their Games kit and check in with the rest of the fleet.

We had a variety of conditions from 20 knots on the first day to 6 knots on the second and everything else in between.

I didn’t have a great start to the regatta with gear failure on the first day, but managed to put in some good results through out the week, to pull up to 4th overall and be in contention for a medal going into the last race, just three points off 3rd.  Unfortunately things didn’t go my way and I couldn’t quite make it on to the podium and ended up 4th.

It was certainly a regatta with lots of twists and turns and although I am disappointed not to have won a medal, a lot of lessons were learnt and some good positives to take out to Rio next week.  This will be my last trip to Rio before the Games and I am looking forward to it.  The Brazilian’s are running a regatta and it looks like nearly all the sailors competing in Rio will be there, so shaping up to be a great regatta!




I am so pleased to announce Sunsail’s support for my final few months of preparation to the Paralympic Games in Rio.  I remember going on my first Sunsail holiday at the age of 9 and have had many fantastic holidays since, that I feel I have grown up with the company.

I do have a lot to thank Sunsail for! I hated sailing at first, but was converted by going on one of their Villa flotilla holidays at the age of 10.  If I had not had that experience of messing around in boats with other kids, in a wonderful setting and most importantly warm water, I am not sure I would be sailing at all, let alone  about to try and defend my Paralympic Gold medal in a few months time.

So its fantastic they are supporting me now as they played a big part to my sailing career!





Another Podium finish at Princess Sofia regatta.  Couldn’t quite keep up the track record from the previous two years, tougher competition but great racing.  To read about the regatta go to my blog

Princess Sofia Regatta

Princess Sofia Regatta


I have spent most of the last month in Palma! No complaints its a beautiful city with some amazing cycling in the mountains and of course great sailing conditions!   The first couple of weeks I spent training with Bjornar from Norway and Will from GB.  Once again RCNP have been the perfect hosts and made us feel so welcome.  We had a really productive time on the water, with some great tuning sessions and finishing up with some racing.

Bjornar flew home for a week before the start of the regatta. However I decided to stay and Steve (my husband) flew out to have a holiday.   Every morning I would go for a bike ride in the mountains enjoying the stunning scenery and then we would go and explore Palma.

After a few days off I was ready to start focussing on the regatta. Ian my coach is in big demand and  I have to share his time with the Irish 49er team.  He always coaches them in Palma so the last two years Steve has stepped in to support me on the water and it was the same this year.

Steve and I have a good track record at this regatta, winning the last 2 he has supported me at so we were really keen to make it 3 in a row! However we had tougher competition this year with the top 7 in the world present!

I had great start and was leading after the first day. The second day also started well in 20knot breeze and big seas, I secured a 2nd in the first race. The second race was looking good until I fell off a massive wave and broke the jib Cunningham! That was the end of racing for the day for me! The third day was completely wacky and there was no racing, which left me lying second but equal points with Heiko in first going in to the last day.  Unfortunately I had a rather rubbish day and dropped to 3rd allowing Damien to beat me by one point!  I must admit I was rather disappointed by the result, but some good lessons to be learnt from regatta.

So I’m home for a week before going back to Palma for a week’s training and then driving on to Hyeres for the next World Cup regatta starting on the 25th April.