News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery : Look out for a charging Rhino at the Paralympics

Look out for a charging Rhino at the Paralympics

'Irish Sonar skippered by John Twomey in 2000'    Jessica Statham
To watch Paul Ryan (IRL) swing from a crane onto his Sonar or bound from the dock to the boat, you would never guess that the one-legged Irishman had broken nearly every bone in his body and had spent almost two years in a wheelchair.

Rhino is his nickname, but he swings from high places like a monkey. Before his motorcycle accident he was a boxer and a hurler; definitely someone you wouldn’t want to mess with.

About 10 years ago, Ryan met Paul McCarthy (IRL), who had also been disabled in a motorcycle accident. McCarthy recruited Ryan to sail with him at the 2002 IFDS World Championships in Medemblik, Holland where they finished 8th. They competed in a Paralympic test event in Athens in 2003 and in the 2004 Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and missed qualifying for the 2004 Paralympics with John Twomey (IRL).

McCarthy had been Twomey’s bowman in Sydney and was the alternate to the squad in Athens. Twomey’s boat was too badly damaged during shipping to race it in the 2004 Paralympics. He phoned McCarthy and asked McCarthy if he could bring his own boat to Athens for the event. It took McCarthy four days to haul the boat and travel nearly 1.000 miles by ferry and 2,500 miles over land to deliver the sonar from Cork, Ireland to Athens, Greece. McCarthy did not get to sail in the 2004 Paralympics, but he received the International Fair Play Award for his sportsmanship and efforts.

Richard Whealey’s (IRL) disabled sailing baptism came during the 2006 Clagett Regatta in Newport, Rhode Island. In return for enduring two back to back five-race days, Whealey received a bronze medal. Since then, the team has had a run of trophy deserving performances. 'I’m like a magpie. I keep coming back for silver and gold and bling. They sold me the dream of going to fancy places where they have beach volleyball tournaments at every regatta,' laughs Whealey. 'Once you join the team, you’re committed.'

The team of Ryan, McCarthy and Whealey outperformed the other disabled Sonar team with Twomey at the helm in a series of four regattas during 2007 and 2008 to be selected by the Paralympic Council of Ireland as the Sonar team for the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Regatta in Qingdao. Rhino was sick during the 2007 IFDS World Championships and the team did poorly.

With Rhino back on the squad for the 2008 Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, their performance improved with every race and the team finished third in the regatta. Twomey, who has represented Ireland more than any other Olympian or Paralympian, joined Amy Kelehan (IRL) in the SKUD 18. This will be Twomey’s ninth Paralympic outing.


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

10:41 AM Sun 7 Sep 2008 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2008 Olympics Qingdao

Related News Stories:

22 Aug 2010  Qingdao might spell the Future of Sailing
27 Nov 2008  Inspirational Meeting of the Medallists at RQYS
15 Nov 2008  Elliott 6 metre selected for 2012 Olympics
13 Nov 2008  ISAF Specialist Committees agree Olympic Equipment
12 Nov 2008  Ainslie and Sensini win ISAF Rolex Sailor Awards
05 Nov 2008  Boost for RS:X sailing down under
03 Nov 2008  Not time to change Olympic windsurfer says Pryde
21 Oct 2008  Tornado moots one design for 11th Olympic medal
06 Oct 2008  ISAF Working Party support NZ design for Olympics
26 Sep 2008  Day 1 of Nations Cup Qualifier - AUS and NZL

News - USA and the World

2014 J/111 World Championship - Bigger breeze arrives on day 2! by Stuart Johnstone, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Audi Melges 20 U.S. Nationals - Oleander takes early lead by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,

2014 Detroit Cup - Sam Gilmour leads by Dobbs Davis, Detroit, Michigan

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Riding the AC45 - VIDEO by Crosbie Lorimer, Hamilton Island

America's Cup: Five Challengers sign-on for 35th Match
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad talks Time and Money (Part II) *Feature
America’s Cup - British Challenge accepted by Golden Gate Yacht Club
Volvo Ocean Race - It’s been emotional, but it’s time to move on
Cork OCR - Sail Canada Senior Nationals wrap up
J/111 World Championships - British Teams take early lead on day 1
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Jellyfish stings British Soldier
International Cadet World Championship – Day 4 at Weymouth, England
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Light wind plagues Lake Jinniu
2014 Formula Kite World Championships - Bridges strike back on day 2
AWT Quatro Desert Showdown at Punta San Carlos
SAP 505 World Championship - Holt and Woelfel on top
2014 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship - Day 2
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; MC38s Lindeman Island Race VIDEO
2014 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship - Ready to rock
IFDS Worlds - Wind delays, but racing continues in Halifax
IFDS World Championships - Day 2 images by Jude Robertson
MS Cup - Three days until the start
America's Cup: Rod Davis - Time for a change after ten years with team *Feature
ISAF seeking hosting bids for Nations Cup
Laser 4.7 Youth Worlds - Luvisetto and Alexadr Boite victorious +Video   
IFDS World Championships - Action shots by Tim Wilkes   
Maxi yacht rendezvous this September in Sardinia   
World Yacht Racing Forum 2014: 'Growing the business of Yacht Racing'   
Clipper Race: 2015-16 edition of world's longest ocean race 70% full   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland - Swish smash 5th World Record   
Leaderboards take shape at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games 2014   
IFDS Worlds - Hot competition on first day of racing   
Challenging Conditions - CORK OCR   
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 for the US Sailing Team   
2014 Melges 20 World Championship - Countdown begins   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 3   
America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team *Feature   
Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3   
Roble and Wilson still number one match racers in the U.S.   
2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1   
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 images by Jude Robertson   
Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled   
52 Super Series - Fleet grows, 2015 dates revealed   
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Teams from 9 nations on the podium   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT