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Saturday 23 September 2017

Paralympic sailor has bucket-list priority licked

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Emma, Anna and John O'Sullivan, from Barna, Co Galway, enjoy ice cream at the Volvo Ocean Race Festival. Andrew Downes Laura and Sam Chapole, from Carnmore, Co Galway, have a snack fit for a captain (or pirate) at the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway Docks. Andrew Downes A PARALYMPIC sailor who broke his back for the second time last year is set to fulfil the dream of a lifetime today when he sails in a round-the-world racing yacht.

Fergal Kinsella (right), from Portmarnock in Co Dublin, will be setting sail on the 'Green Dragon' -- the Chinese-Irish entry in the last Volvo Ocean Race.

"The only thing I can compare this to is a Formula One car. This is one of the top things on my bucket list," he said.

A keen sailor who has taken part in many international boating events including Fastnet and the Round Ireland Races, Fergal broke his neck in 1996 and was left paralysed from the chest down.

Despite his injuries and a nine-month stint in hospital, the determined sportsman went on to compete in the Paralympics.

However, his injuries were exacerbated last year after he damaged his spinal cord for the second time.

"It was a freak accident. I fell over in my wheelchair and hit my neck off the edge of the wall. I was actually very lucky -- the nerves weren't damaged at all," he said.

The former Irish National Helmsman's Champion is delighted to have the chance to sail on the 'Green Dragon'.

"I just want to get my hands on the helm of one of the fastest and most powerful sailing boats in the world," he said.

Irish Independent

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