It’s more than plain sailing for John

Photograph Jamie Forbes 17.5.13  Lenzie. John McPartlin disabled sailor won silver in Spring Regatta.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 17.5.13 Lenzie. John McPartlin disabled sailor won silver in Spring Regatta.

Bardowie Loch disabled sailor John McPartlin came back from the Spring regatta in Glasgow with a silver medal to kick- off the new season.

Johnhad a stroke in August 2009 and the retired civil engineer (64), said it was great to be able to keep on sailing despite being partially paralysed down his right hand side.

He said: “I was a very active sort of person prior to my stroke and was involved in mountain climbing and big sailing events.

“After my stroke I was devastated. It felt like my life was over, but sailing gave me a fulfilling outlet once again. When I am in the boat I have the opportunity to continue an active life even though I am disabled.”

Four members from the diabled section of Clyde Cruising Club’s Barbowie Section on the outskirts of Milngavie competed in the Spring Regatta at Strathclyde Park with John being pipped to first place by Liz Eaton.

They all sail in specially modified trimaran dinghies called Challengers and sail independently once they are helped into their boats.

John started sailing in 2000 and had his stroke two weeks before he was due to take part in the famous biannual offshore Fastnet yachting race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

John said: “I was really looking looking forward to competing in the Fastnet race. It is a real challenge and a difficult contest testing both inshore and offshore skills.

“I just had to accept I would not be competing in a race I was really looking forward to. My life changed so much after that and it took me time to reajust, but on a positive note I am lucky to be alive.”

John joked about his silver, adding: “I’m not sure if I’d have won the silver if fellow sailor Alex Hodge had been competing. He usually wins, Liz is second and I’m third.”

And he added: “ But saying that the sailing was still very competitive and the conditions were testing. The wind was very brisk and it was not for the faint hearted. Ruth Foley won bronze and David Chalmers had a good run despite not winning a medal.”