Name: Rory McKinna Age: 20 From: Stewarton, Ayrshire in Scotland, UK Class: Hansa 303 Club: Clyde Cruising Club
Rory started sailing eight years ago and has achieved much in that time. In August last year, he became the UK National Champion in the Hansa 303 Single Person Class at the HCUK Hansa UK Nationals. Two months later, Rory was competing in Palermo, Sicily at the Hansa World Championships finishing 2nd in the Hansa 303 Men’s Class and 3rd overall in the Hansa 303 Single Person Class. Rory studies Urban Planning at Dundee University in Scotland and has another season of competition planned for 2022.
What does the season ahead look like for you and how will you balance that with your studies?
“My aim is to make the coming season as busy as the last, if not even more so! 2021 was the first year that I competed in all the regattas for the Hansa UK Traveller Trophy. I’ve definitely been bitten by the bug and plan to do them all again this year.
On the international scene, I’m looking forward to the Eurosaf European Para Sailing Championships in Austria and I hope to travel to France to compete in some of their many Hansa events. In terms of balancing this with my studies, most of the competitions take place outside the academic year, so it shouldn’t be an issue.”
How did you get into sailing and why?
“I first saw Hansa 303s when I was trying out rowing. I don’t know why, but it was the first sport I ever looked at and said ‘I want to give that a go’. The rest is history!”
Who has been your greatest supporter?
“Definitely Clyde Cruising Club – my home club. Not only is this where I effectively learned to sail, but they are also the owner of my boat of choice (‘Glasgow Bonnet’) and they let me take it all over Europe! As well as this, the club’s Seamanship & Pilotage Trust have provided financial support over the years, which has enabled me to travel to all the competitions I attend.”
When you look back at your achievements, what means the most to you?
“It’s hard to say. They all mean so much! Probably the stand out achievement was coming 2nd (Men’s) and 3rd (Single Person) at the 2021 Hansa Worlds. That was pretty cool.”
Why is your Hansa 303 called ‘Glasgow Bonnet’?
“The three Hansa 303s at Bardowie were sponsored by ‘The Trades House of Glasgow’ which is an organisation dating back to 1605, created to protect and
support the Crafts people of the city. The three Hansas were named by member Crafts, one of which was the Bonnetmakers & Dyers, hence ‘Glasgow Bonnet’.
It was sheer coincidence that I started sailing in this boat – I am from the town of Stewarton, famous for making bonnets and known as the ‘Bonnet Toun’, and I initially picked it because it was red!”
What do you consider your greatest strength?
“I’ve been told that I stay very calm while sailing in stressful conditions, though I don’t seem to show this anywhere else in life!”
What is your biggest weakness?
“I’m definitely easily distracted. My interest in all things historical, architectural and agricultural means that if I’m close to shore, there is a good chance I’ll start looking at everything but the race!”
What would it mean to you if sailing was reinstated as a Paralympic sport?
“Everyone in disability sailing knows that it is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, level the playing field and create a sense of adventure like no other accessible sport. So many unique individuals, with their own strengths and weaknesses, interacting with accessible and intuitive technology brings out an
incredible display of ingenuity and creativity.
“To see disability sailing reinstated in the Paralympics would show a recognition of the unique opportunities the sport offers and an international commitment to making the world accessible for everyone – able-bodied or disabled, any gender, young or old, rich or poor.”
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