one big family
The folks at the IFDS Disabled Worlds (running this week) have been putting together some great competitor stories like this one that make the usual sailor bitching and moaning seem just a bit silly.
Bjønar Erikstad (29) from Norway is of course well known in the sailing world, he has been sailing for twenty years now. Starting in an Optimist, he then sailed a Soling together with his parents and was a tactician on friends’ boats. Since 1996 Bjonar ( with no arms, but with hands amply compensating this deficiency) has been sailing the 2.4mR. He won bronze in Worlds 2001 and 2006, and today (Sunday, July11) Bjønar was 6th, ranking him 4th overall so far.
When asked whether he will sail the Paralympics, he modestly answers that this is up to Norway, since it is not the person but the nation that is being represented in the Paralympics. Since there is only one 2.4mR representing Norway he has a fair chance! "Anyway, I am aiming at good results at every sailing event. I like racing here, because of the nice sunny atmosphere. Hopefully there will be a little more wind during the next races," he said. Meanwhile his mother has joined us, she accompanies Bjønar in all sailing events and comfirms Bjonar’s remarks about the atmosphere at the the Regatta Center. "Actually, we are one big family at the IFDS Worlds, we know each other from sailing events all over the world, and it’s great to be here."