Six Canadians chock-full of competitive sailing experience will tackle the waters of Rio de Janeiro’s Marina da Glória in search of Paralympic glory later this summer.
This veteran Canadian Paralympic sailing team, named on Monday, is led by Paul Tingley, a resident of Halifax, N.S. who captured a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games and a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Games. He won his medallions as a sailor in the 2.4 mR single-seated boat event.
After missing the podium in 2012, Tingley decided to shake things up by taking over the skipper position for the Canadian Sonar sailboat team from Bruce Millar.
He and his teammates Logan Campbell (Saskatoon, Sask.) and Scott Lutes (Montreal, Que.) have enjoyed much success following this transition. They are seventh in the international rankings and they finished on top of the podium at the 2016 World Championships in Miami.
Tingley told ReportonRio.com in June that a major contributor to their success is team chemistry. He, Campbell and Lutes work hard to create a inseparable bond by taking the same flight, eating at the same restaurant and sleeping in the same hotel room for every competition.
Also building cohesion is that each of them have clearly defined responsibilities on the boat. Tingley’s job is to read the water and wind to make the major decisions for the team.
Lutes’ is the team’s rig master. Tingley said, “He sets the rig up so the boat is going fast. He’s kind of like the professor, he’s got the numbers. He knows right down to the millimetre how to tweak this shroud versus the other shroud.”
Campbell is the main sail trimmer for this crew. Tingle said Campbell “[Works] the main sail with all his physical might and he is a force.”
This team has spent a lot of time in Brazil leading up to the Games to get comfortable with the water in order to put themselves in a position to contend for a medal.
Millar, a native of Victoria, B.C., is now Canada’s competitor in the 2.4 mR. The 55-year-old is a bit of a long shot for a medal considering he is No.17 in the world rankings, however he did finish second at the Miami Cup earlier this year.
He is making his third Paralympic appearance. He finished 10th in the 2.4 mR at Athens in 2004 and ninth in the Sonar race with Campbell and Lutes at London in 2012.
Husband and wife team John McRoberts (Victoria, B.C.) and Jackie Gay (Victoria, B.C.) — Sailing Canada’s team of the year in 2013 — round out this experienced Canadian sailing squad. They are expected to challenge for a medal in the two-person keel boat (SKUD 18) as they are sixth in the world rankings and they sailed to a bronze medal an international competition at Italy in the spring.
McRoberts is a Paralympic veteran. He collected a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games sailing the men’s crew boat, and he claimed bronze in Beijing in the SKUD race with his partner Stacie Louttit in 2008. Gay is making her debut at the Rio Games.
Ken Dool, the high performance director and head coach for Team Canada, is expecting great results from these six athletes. He said: “The Canadian Sailing Team is loaded with veteran performers and are set to take on the world. All three teams have been demonstrating their brilliance over the past four years in preparation for the big show in Rio.
“Final preparations are taking place on their respective home waters and the Canadian squad is looking forward to representing their country proudly in September.”
The Paralympic sailing showdown begins on Sept. 12 and runs to Sept. 17.
Photos courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee