by Jackie Gay
Canada's Skud-18 Paralympic team of John McRoberts and Jackie Gay were honoured with Sail Canada's 'Skippers' Plan Team of the Year Award' for 2013.
Paralympic Sailors honoured at Sail Canada Awards
John and Jackie - both experienced paralympic class sailors - teamed up on the water on 2013 and started their campaign for Rio with a Bronze medal at the IFDS World Championships in Kinsale, Ireland.
They followed this with a silver medal at the ISAF World Cup Miami OCR in January.
But John and Jackie are not just a team on the water, they are a married couple. 'We're not the only ones,' says Jackie. 'We think that there's a Brazilian Nacra Team that are married, although most people look at us in horror when we say we're sailing together. Actually, it makes a lot of sense logistically and as long as we leave our egos on the dock everything is fine.'
'We know what we have to do,' says John. 'Ask some basic questions: does this make the boat go fast? is this the right decision?'
John and Jackie were delighted to travel to Toronto to receive their award in February, where John's family were able to join them for the night at the Carlu. 'My family live here,' says John, 'so they could come along and enjoy our success with us.'
'Plus we're really excited to see the Paralympic classes recognized at the highest level,' says Jackie. 'The commitment, hard work and talent of the Canadian paralympic team is well known within our community but less known in the wider world. This award is for all of us, and for the sport that we love so much.'