Very different in stature, age and attitude, Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe are both competing for the Paralympic single-handed class. Matthew Sheahan meets them both

Olympic profile: Megan Pascoe

Age – 25
Height – 5ft 8in (1.73m)
Weight – 60kg
Born – Shoreham
Grew up – Ardingly, West Sussex
Disability – Hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, graded as 6 (scale 1-7, where 1 is high)
Started sailing – Optimist on Ardingly Reservoir
School – Oat Hall, Haywards Heath
Turned professional – 2005
Current home – Portland
University – Bournemouth University, Sports Psychology & Coaching Sciences
Nickname – Megs
Status – Single

Early ambitions – “Perhaps because of my disability I’ve always been more interested in the psychological aspects of sailing. 2001 was my last year in Oppies and the racing was becoming physically demanding. The first time I tried a 2.4m I was terrified when it heeled”

How it all started – “I competed in the 2.4m Open Worlds in Sweden in 2004, which was an amazing experience. With so little element on the physical side and with my enthusiasm for the mental side, I realised this was a class that I could use my knowledge in. My brain wants to do more than my body can do, but that’s why the 2.4m is such a great boat for me. It’s a highly technical boat that requires a lot of thinking around the course”

Best/worst quality – “I try to help people as much as I can, but my worst quality is getting frustrated and then I tend to shout”

Hobbies and interests? – “Most of my spare time is spent sailing. I like to dinghy race, although my favourite boat at the moment is a Dehler 36”

How do you relax? – “Going sailing in my beloved Merlin Rocket”

What picks you up when you’re down? – “This will sound strange, but being in a sailing environment like my local sailing club in Weymouth. There everyone talks the same language and is similarly enthusiastic about the sport. I get loads of support there”

Non-sailing ambition – “To go and see Russia – I studied Russian at school”

What’s your plan ‘B’? – “I don’t really have one although I do know that I don’t want to do this forever. Whatever I did I would have to be near water though”

Sporting hero – “Anyone who gets out there and does something”

First class raced – Optimist

Racing track record
4th – Rolex Miami OCR, 2012
6th – IFDS Worlds, Weymouth, 2011
1st – Kiel Week, 2011
8th – Sail for Gold, Weymouth, 2011
2nd – Delta Lloyd Regatta, 2011
2nd – Semaine Olympique Française, Hyères, 2011

Favourite sailing venue – Gavle, Sweden
Favourite boat – 2.4mR
Current car – Skoda Octavia
Dream car – Anything that works

Personal Favourites
Film – New‘A’ Team
Band – Jon Bon Jovi
Book – Any by Jasper Forde
Non-sailing item – My rubber duck collection – no, really!
Favourite app – Pretty Pet Saloon

ipod top 3 most played
The Flood – Take That
Walking in Memphis – Mark Cohen
It’s My Life – Jon Bon Jovi

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Olympic profile: Megan Pascoe
  3. 3. Olympic profile: Helena Lucas
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