Island sailors named to national teams for 2022-23 seasons

Maura Dewey hopes her sails will float all the way to Paris. “Achieving Olympic level is what drives my dreams,” said the Royal Victoria Yacht Club sailor.

Maura Dewey hopes her sails will float all the way to Paris.

“Achieving Olympic level is what drives my dreams,” said the Royal Victoria Yacht Club sailor.

Dewey was named to the National Development Team as Sail Canada announced its 2022-23 National Teams.

Dewey is the product of his family’s obsession with sports:

“My parents and grandparents sailed. They visited the island from Alberta and were punched and told they had to get to the ocean. I was enrolled in sailing lessons when I was a child.

These lessons stuck. And then some to bring the Lambrick Park Secondary graduate to the national development team.

“I love the outdoors and being on the water,” Dewey said.

It doesn’t hurt Dewey’s particular athletic background as he is also in graduate school at UVic and working on his Ph.D. in meteorology: “I like the complexity of the race. Every race is different. No two races are alike due to the different water and weather conditions. I’m lonely [boat]. It’s simple but complex at the same time.

While Dewey is looking to make his first Olympics, fellow Royal Victoria Yacht Club member John McRoberts competed in the Paralympics, winning silver at Atlanta 1996 and Rio 2016, bronze at Beijing 2008 and placing fourth at London 2012. McRoberts was named to the Canadian Paralympic team for 2022-23 along with his wife and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games silver medalist Jackie Gay and Bruce Millar, also out of the RVYC. RVYC’s Delani Hulme-Lawrence has been named to the Para development team.

“The most important thing is not to look in the mirror,” joked McRoberts, who turned 60 in September.

“I still have the engine. I love it,” added McRoberts, who has been in a wheelchair since age 18 after diving into a Lake Erie shallow.

“Representing the Maple Leaf suits me perfectly. Racing is a mind game and it gets better with age. I don’t see a shelf life on that.

But there will be no Paris 2024 for McRoberts as sailing was dropped from the Paralympic list after Rio 2016 as the Games seek to rotate participating sports.

“The world championships are now the big event for us. But we have hopes of re-establishing sailing for the Los Angeles Paralympics in 2028 and my goal is to become the oldest Paralympian.

With such an irrepressible spirit, no one should bet against it.

Sailing has been on the Olympic program since the first Games in Athens in 1896 and only failed in 1904 in Saint-Louis.

Canada has won nine Olympic medals in sailing, including Eric Jespersen of Sidney in Barcelona in 1992, and five Paralympic medals, powered in part by McRoberts.

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