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Celebrating Rory McKinna for Scottish Disability Sport Week 2023

by RYA Scotland 3 Dec 2023 02:46 PST 27 November - 3 December 2023
Rory McKinna © Marc Turner

The first Scottish Disability Sport Week, 27 November to 3 December 2023, is a great chance to celebrate the transformative impact sport can have on people's lives.

There's perhaps no better example than Dundee University Student, Rory McKinna (21), who had no idea where sailing would take him when he first got aboard an accessible Hansa dinghy eight years ago.

Since then, Rory has gone from strength to strength in his racing journey, humbly accruing various Hansa 303 accolades, competing on the international circuit, as well as holding several young sportsperson awards.

Rory's event made the televised finals of the World Sailing Championships this summer in the Netherlands.

He was also the proud winner of the pilot RYA Sailability series in 2022, which was designed to offer more opportunities for people with disabilities to get involved in entry-level competition outside of club racing.

Reflecting on his first time getting afloat back in his teens, Rory had no idea how far sailing would take him. Now a fully fledged globetrotter, he's had had the pleasure of travelling right across the globe to compete, visiting five countries this year alone.

"I tried to fit quite a lot around about it as well, but you know, it is definitely a lifestyle, but one that's very enjoyable I feel.

"In terms of what to promote to people, it's it is the whole atmosphere that goes with sailing. I find it a unique environment to be in. I just try to tell people not to be afraid to try something they don't know anything about!"

And if all that sailing wasn't enough, Rory is also getting stuck into studies at the University of Dundee. He praises the incredibly supportive Uni team of his sporting ventures, making the balancing of course work and lectures while out on the road possible.

Rory has also been expressing his thanks to the RYA, for bringing one particular opportunity to his attention. By getting involved with the Switzerland GP team's 'Inspire' program, he got the chance to work closely with the Swiss Team in the UK, leading to the Sail Grand Prix circuit.

Rory says it was a surreal environment to be a part of:

"I couldn't possibly envisage anything like that happening before, but you know, as soon as I went there and had a look around and got introduced to the set up and everything, it's awesome what they do.

"It's pretty cool just to see the whole set up in the facilities. The logistics, the technology, it's all really cool."

Between exciting destinations, high octane action, and top-level success, sailing truly has taken Rory to places he could never have foreseen. Inspired by Rory?

Find out more about RYA Sailability opportunities at www.rya.org.uk/start-boating/sailability

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