News Home Video Gallery Photo 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.

by .


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

Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - nip and tuck for IRC honours by RHKYC and Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia, Hong Kong

America's Cup Book Review: Winging It - Oracle Team USA's comeback *Feature by Richard Gladwell,

HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret *Feature by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor, Seattle

America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced *Feature by Richard Gladwell/, Auckland, NZ

Congressional Cup - Victory for Taylor Canfield and crew by Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF),

2014 Halifax – Saint-Pierre Ocean Race by Patricia Nelder, Nova Scotia

WWA Pro Card Qualifier - Pro Cards earned at Freedom Wake Park
Christmas Caribbean Rally - Top class sailors to compete
Earth Day boater tips
Anna Tunnicliffe - from CrossFit to Extreme 40's
Charleston Race Week - Photos by Chris Howell
Image Gallery: Stratis SL33 flies on the Waitemata
Audi Melges 20- Sperry Topsider Charleston Race Week - Light final day
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - PSP Logistics prepares for USA
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères - Crème of the crop to compete
Congressional Cup: Luna Rossa makes podium in first event
Int 14 World Championships 2015 launch new event website
International Optimist Regatta Clinic and Team Race - Register now!
Congressional Cup: World top rankers finish that way in Long Beach
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week Day 3 finale
America's Cup: Gino Morrelli outlines the new AC62 design
Doyle Sails New Zealand signs Andrew Brown as One Design Manager
America's Cup: Dean Barker's Blog - A sail with the Duke and Duchess *Feature
29er World Youth Sailing Week Easter regatta - Day 1 and 2 overall
C Thomas Clagett Jr Memorial Clinic/Regatta - Entries start to roll in
50th Congressional Cup: See the delayed coverage and media conferences
Clipper Race 10 Day 27: Closing stages - Qingdao to San Francisco   
Canfield, Williams, Bruni, Swinton in Congressional Cup final four   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week - Day 2   
Audi Melges 20 Charleston Race Week - Perfect conditions in Charleston   
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Full on ocean conditions for day 3   
PWA World Tour - A taste of things to come at La Torche + Video   
Women's International Match Racing Series kicks off in June   
Melges 32 Audi Tron Sailing Series - Action shots by Max Ranchi   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Frustrating conditions   
Man rescued after falling overboard in Pacific taken to hospital   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Youth leading Melges 20   
Congressional Cup - Canfield leads toward Congressional Cup sailoffs   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Perfection for Day 1   
America's Cup: Coutts claims ISAF Jury on a crusade, backs Kiwi report *Feature   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Will light winds hamper progress?   
Les Voiles de St. Barth - Preparing to rock Saint Barthélemy waters   
Clipper Round the World Race - OneDLL and Qingdao now in San Francisco   
America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ up against funding hurdle for year *Feature   
Melges 32 Sailing Series Napoli - Day 1 images by Stefano Gattini   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   

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.