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Paralympic sailing coach Cindy Sheppard (Hardie) has passed away

by Sail Canada 4 Aug 18:31 PDT
Cindy Sheppard (Hardie) © Sail Canada

It is with great sadness that Sail Canada shares with the Canadian sailing community the passing of Paralympic sailing coach Cindy Sheppard (Hardie). She was 51 years of age.

Cindy Sheppard (Hardie) was one of the coaches for the Canadian Paralympic Sailing teams at the 1996 and 2000 Games. In 1996 in Atlanta, she coached the Sonar team comprised of David Cook, Kirk Westergaard and Kenneth Kelly, which won the silver medal. She also worked with that same crew from 1999 to 2004 at two World Championships, several Miami Olympic Classes Regattas (OCR) and many other North American Championships and local events.

At the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia, she coached Danny McCoy in 2.4mR as he took the 11th spot.

She also coached the British Columbia team at the 1997 Canada Games and sailed in the 1996 Olympic trials in the Europe class.

Growing up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Cindy Sheppard (Hardie) spent her summers at Sea Cadet camps in Gimli, MB, where she learned to sail. She then took part in provincial and national competitions before enrolling at the National Coaching Institute and becoming the Competitive Sailing Director at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

"Cindy was a tireless worker, she always had a big smile, made everyone feel welcome and was part of the action," said Sail Canada National Performance Coach Ken Dool, who worked with Cindy at the 1996 and 2000 Paralympic Games. "On behalf of Sail Canada and the entire community, I would like to express our sincere condolences to her family, including her husband Alistair Hardie and daughters Marina, Fiona and Sophie, as well as her friends."

"Cindy was incredibly well-respected and welcomed wherever we went," remembered Ken Kelly and Kirk Westergaard. "She was smart and had a stabilizing influence, and her knowledge of the sport, the boats, sail trim and team dynamics combined with her fabulous personality were unmatched in our 15 years with Sail Canada."

"Cindy had a big influence on me as a new paraplegic person on the scene," added Danny McCoy. "She worked tirelessly with me to get ready for Sydney when I travelled to Finland, Miami and Australia to train. Unfortunately, I broke my mast at the Games, but she assisted me greatly with getting past my disappointment."

You can read her obituary at www.discovermoosejaw.com/articles/cindy-florence-hardie.

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