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: Helena Lucas

Age – 37
– 5ft 2in (1.57m)
– 48kg
– Redhill, Surrey
Grew up
– South Nutfield, Surrey
– born without thumbs, graded as 6
Started sailing
– Enterprise, Crawley Mariners, 8 years old
– Oxted County School
Turned professional
– 1998
Current home
– Weymouth
– Solent University, Yacht and Power Craft design
– Little H
– Married to Stephen Thomas

How it all started
– “I started sailing at the age of eight with my parents in their Enterprise, but didn’t really take to it until I was 12 when I started racing Toppers. I hated sailing at first, I was so frightened of capsizing, but when I was about 10 we did a Sunsail holiday in Greece where I realised there was nothing to worry about. I started racing the 420 and was selected for the Youth Squad. I had my sights set on going to the Olympics in the 470, but decided I would get my degree first”

Turning point – “I campaigned the 470 for the Sydney and Athens Games, but just missed out on selection for both. Then the RYA approached me to see if I would consider sailing the 2.4mR in the Paralympics. I had never considered the Paralympics before that. The 2.4 is very good at catering for a wide range of disabilities and when raced against able-bodied crews, disabled sailors are often in the top 10”

Best/worst quality
– “My determination is my best quality but my worst is that I worry too much”

Hobbies and interests? – “Skiing, cycling, windsurfing, supporting Southampton FC and cruising on my Westerly GK29”

How do you relax? – “I love watching movies and at the moment NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service), which is an American police procedural drama television series”

What picks you up when you’re down?
– “To go out on my road bike. A long ride usually deals with any frustration”

Non-sailing ambition – “To complete a leg of Etape du Tour”

What’s your plan ‘B’? – “I would love to get into coaching but I’d also fancy getting involved in a design project”

Sporting hero – Seb Coe

First class raced
– Topper

Racing track record

4th- IFDS Worlds, Florida, USA 2012
1st – IFDS Pre Worlds, 2011
3rd – IFDS Worlds, Weymouth, 2011
2nd – Princess Sophia, 2010
7th – Paralympic Games, Beijing, 2008
4th – IFDS Qingdao Regatta, 2.4m Disabled, 2008

Favourite sailing venue – Perth
Favourite boat – Foiling Moth
Current car – Volvo XC60
Dream car – Ferrari, but must be red

Personal favourites
Film – Wimbledon
Band – Snow Patrol
Book – Harry Potter
Non-sailing item – specialised road bike
iPhone app – Spotify and Skype

ipod top 3 most played
Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
Man in Corner – The Script
Viva La Vida – Coldplay

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