Subaru is backing the British attempt in the fiercely competitive ‘2002 Disabled World Sailing Championships’ in Medemblik in The Netherlands between 22 and 27 September.
Ed Suckling from London, Andrew Cassell from the Isle of White and Brian Harding who lives in Hampshire are the crew of the leading UK boat – a 23 ft fixed keel Sonar.
Their immediate aim is to finish in the top seven to ensure Britain has a place in the Athens Paralympics in 2004. However, a top three position would increase their chances of being the nominated crew.
But first they must compete against around 20 other disabled crews from as far apart as Australia, Canada and Japan.
Ed – who will be towing the boat from the Isle of White to the Harwich ferry and then through Holland - said: "We were delighted when Subaru agreed to loan us its top-of-the-line Outback H6-3.0. As my father drives an older Legacy estate, I know Subarus make very secure and stable tow cars. The all-wheel drive facility is also very handy for launching boats if the slipways are wet."
An investment banker in the City of London, Ed, 34, was born with spina bifida and walks with the aid of callipers and a stick. He started sailing in 1995 following earlier successes in the British Paralympic Ski Team.
Meanwhile, Andrew Cassell, 59, a sail maker from Cowes, has competed at the highest standard with able-bodied sailors despite being born without legs. His most notable result was winning a Gold medal for Great Britain in the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics.
The third crewmember, Brian Harding, 39, a businessman from Hampshire, has been a paraplegic following an accident in 1982. He started sailing in 1997 and was 2nd in the ’99 Cadiz World Disabled Sailing Championships and 5th in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.
The three men started sailing together last year and as a crew, their most notable results are coming 1st in the UK 2001 Two-Sail National and International Championships, 1st in the UK 2002 Two-Sail Nationals and 2nd in the UK 2002 Two-Sail International Championships – which included able-bodied sailors – and taking 2nd place in the 2001 St Petersburg World Disabled Championships which was won by a Canadian team.Published 18 September 2002