Smallfield yachtsman sails against some of the world's best in competition (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Smallfield yachtsman sails against some of the world's best in competition
12:09pm Monday 23rd September 2013 in News
A yachtsman from Smallfield has sailed to a creditable finish in a competition against some of the best sailors in the world, including Surrey’s London 2012 Paralympic sailing golden girl, Helena Lucas.
Peter Gregory, 64, lined up against 74 athletes, including Redhill-raised Lucas, from 12 nations at Poole Yacht Club in Dorset.
They sailed in the four-day 2013 International 2.4 Metre Class World Championship.
The 2.4mR is probably best known in Britain for being the Paralympic single-handed boat, although internationally, the class is predominantly sailed by able-bodied athletes.
The world championship is celebrated because it pits both able-bodied and disabled sailors against one another on a level playing field.
Some of the world’s top Paralympians, including the British Sailing Team’s London 2012 2.4mR champion, Lucas, and Rio 2016 hopeful, Megan Pascoe, were in action in Poole, alongside the current able-bodied world champion, Peter Andersson from Sweden.
Before the event, Peter said: “All I’m looking for from the Worlds is to have a great time and better my results from previous big events.
“As well as great racing, you can build some very special friendships.”
He said: “The thing I love about 2.4mR sailing is the ability to compete in a sport where the physical condition of everyone is irrelevant.”
Peter, who suffers from a condition called Cauda Equina, a spinal cord injury he has had for more than 40 years as a result of farm working in his teens, has been sailing the 2.4mR class for four years after joining Frensham Pond Sailability, near Farnham, in 2009.
Since then he has competed in a number of 2.4mR World Championship events and the annual Sail for Gold Regatta, racing alongside the world’s top Paralympians on the London 2012 sailing regatta waters of Weymouth and Portland.
He said that sailing the 2.4mR opened up a new world to him. And sailing in the World Championship at Poole, he was unfazed by the world-class competition and finished in 68th position out of the 75 entrants over-all.
Peter said: "It was marvellous to be able to sail with the best 2.4mR sailors in the world.
“I hope that what I have learnt will be used in my weekly club racing.”
He added: “To make the event even more memorable, the Poole Yacht Club provided us with excellent hospitality and support.
“New friends were made from many different nationalities."
For more details about the 2013 International 2.4mR Class World Championships visit the event website at: www.24mworlds2013.co.uk