Will Street

2.4mR Sailor

About Me

Athlete: Will Street, 2.4mR Sailor

Date of Birth: 14 December 1991
Campaign: 2016 Paralympics
Home Town: Eastbourne, East Sussex, United Kingdom

Sailing History

I have been sailing since I was old enough to get into a boat, initially steering a Laser with my dad helping to keep it upright. Sailing is in my blood as both of my parents sailed competitively. My dad represented Great Britain when he was 16, at the Cadet World Championships and raced several other classes over the years winning two National Championships in the Merlin Rocket’s and completed an Olympic campaign, with Phil Morrison, in a Star.

I started sailing competitively in a Topper as an able bodied sailor and developed good skills and speed. In windy conditions I found it more difficult to move quickly enough in these unstable boats.

The size of the fleets ranged from 20 boats at Regional Open Meetings to 300 at the National Championships, competing at this level helped me to further develop my skills. I achieved many very good results, here are some:

• 3rd ITCA Topper South East Area Championships, 2007
• 3rd South East Area Zone Championships, 2007
• 6th SE Topper Traveller, Island Barn, 2008
• 2nd South East Area Championships, 2008
• 2nd SE Topper Traveller Newhaven, 2008
• 2nd Topper Traveller Pevensey Bay, 2008
• 1st Laser 4.7 SE Grand Prix Pevensey Bay, 2008
• 4th SE Topper Traveller Bough Beech, 2008
• 2nd Topper SE Traveller Lancing, 2008
• 2nd Overall Bronze Fleet, Magic Marine Topper National Championships, 2008 (Was in bronze fleet due to not being able to compete in windy races during qualifying). Individual race results of 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th in a fleet of 90 boats.

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During these meetings I have beaten members of the top RYA Topper National Squad like; Alex Mills-Barton (who has now won the RYA Youth National Championships in a Laser and is in the Olympic Development Squad and Ranked 3rd in Great Britain), Jonathan Hewett (who finished 2nd at the Topper World Championships that year), Dan Bigsby and George Spedding.
 
I was invited to join various Topper racing squads but decided not to participate as my disability meant that I could not join in the physical training and I couldn’t sail in all conditions.

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In 2009 I sustained a shoulder injury which stopped me racing that year. I increasingly found it difficult to control unstable ‘able bodied’ dinghies and whilst recovering from a major back operation I went to the RYA’s Sail For Gold meeting in 2010 to have a look at the Paralympic class boats. Matt Grier, the RYA’s Disabled Racing Development Coach, encouraged me to get a 2.4mR boat. The 2.4mR is sailed by one person who sits in the middle, has a mainsail and a jib and can be steered by hand and/or feet. The boat has a weighted keel to give it stability and has many controls to get the best out of the rig.

In November 2010 I bought a four year old 2.4mR boat and attended several RYA race training sessions over the winter. Discomfort from my operation made this quite difficult but I started to learn more and more about the boat. In March I competed in the RYA Spring Olympic Class National Ranker at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA). I had a great regatta and finished 3rd disabled sailor, only beaten by the two funded RYA Performance Squad members who have been sailing 2.4’s for many years. Based on my performance over the winter of 2010/11 I was selected to join the RYA’s 2.4mR Transitional Squad.

During 2011 I continued to develop my skills in the 2.4mR and had some excellent results:

• 3rd Paralympic (5th overall) RYA National Ranker WPNSA, 12-13 March
• 24th (3rd GBR) Sail for Gold WPNSA, 5-11 June
• 38th (4th GBR) IFDS Worlds WPNSA, 1-8 July
• 2rd Paralympic (3rd Overall) RYA Sailability Regatta Rutland, 12-13 August
• 4th Paralympic (7th overall) 2.4mR Inland and National Championships Rutland, 1-3 September
• 4th Paralympic (5th overall) RYA Autumn National Ranker WPNSA, 17-18 September
• 3rd Paralympic (5th overall) RYA Autumn National Ranker WPNSA, 15-16 October
• 2nd Paralympic (3rd overall) 2.4mR Frostbite Open Oxford, 12 October

I was very pleased with my progress during the year and consolidated my position as top GBR Transitional Squad member. I finished 2011 23rd in the IFDS (International Federation of Disabled Sailors) World Ranking and 3rd GBR boat behind the two funded RYA Skandia Performance Squad members.

I had a great year in 2012 gaining valuable international racing experience. In April was selected to join the Skandia Team GRB Olympic Developemnt Squad. This meant I gained more coaching time and had access to the vast range of specialst support staff and experts within the Squad. I was also presented with the Marlow Ropes award in April.

My results in 2012 were:

• 3rd RYA National Ranker WPNSA, 10-11 March
• 13th Princess Sofia ISAF World Cup Event Palma, Majorca 1-7 April
• 16th Hyeres ISAF World Cup Event Hyeres France, 20-27 April
• 17th Delta Lloyd ISAF World Cup Event Medemblik Netherlands, 23-27 May
• 18th Sail for Gold ISAF World Cup Event WPNSA, 1-8 June
• 2nd Paralympic (5th Overall) RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta Rutland, 20-22 July
• 3rd Paralympic (5th Overall) 2.4mR Inland National Championships Rutland, 27-29 July
• 23rd 2.4mR Open World Championship Porto San Giorgio Italy, 16-22 September
• 1st Paralympic (2nd Overall) RYA National Ranker Oxford, 13-14 October
• 2nd 2.4mR Open Meeting Oxford, 1-2 December

I finished 2012 18th in the IFDS (International Federation of Disabled Sailors) World Ranking, 19th in the ISAF World Ranking, 1st in the 2.4mR National Traveller Series and 1st Paralympic boat in the GBR National Ranking Series.

My results in 2013 were:

• 10th (/26) Princess Sofia ISAF World Cup Event Palma, Majorca
• 11th (/15) Hyeres ISAF World Cup Event Hyeres, France
• 14th (/29) Delta Lloyd ISAF World Cup Event Medemblik, Netherlands
• 8th (/14) Sail for Gold ISAF World Cup Event WPNSA
• 12 (/75) 2.4mR IFDS World Championship Kinsale, Ireland
• 17th (/75) 2.4mR Open World Championship Poole, UK

I finished 2013 6th in the IFDS (International Federation of Disabled Sailors) World Ranking

My results in 2014 were:

• 5th (/16) Princess Sofia ISAF World Cup Event Palma, Majorca
• 10th (/16) Hyeres ISAF World Cup Event Hyeres, France
• 20th (/23) Delta Lloyd ISAF World Cup Event Medemblik, Netherlands
• 6th (/13)Sail for Gold ISAF World Cup Event WPNSA
• 311th (/54) 2.4mR Open European Championships Sneek, Netherlands
• 3rd (/18) 2.4mR Pre World Championship Halifax, Canada
• 20th (/46) 2.4mR IFDS World Championship Halifax, Canada
• 12th (/35) 2.4mR Open World Championship Toronto, Canada

I finished 2014 12th in the IFDS (International Federation of Disabled Sailors) World Ranking

Winning a Paralympic Gold medal in 2016 is my mission.

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More About Me

At the age of twelve, I was diagnosed with Freidriechs Ataxia a degenerative genetic disorder which affects my nerves and muscle control. I have chosen not to research my condition too much as I would rather live for today and focus on the life I lead rather than dwell on what might be. There is no cure (at the moment) and so I have had to cope with the changes that have taken place over the last seven years. The one thing that has not changed is my love of the water and the desire to win and be the best sailor in the world. In the past 2 years my condition has worsened and in May 2010 I underwent a seven hour operation on my spine to correct severe scoliosis. I am now using a wheel chair to get around. I am lucky that I am generally in good health and my rehabilitation from the back operation seems to be well on the way and I am looking forward to the task ahead to be selected to represent Great Britain in the 2016 Paralympic Games and to win gold.

 As a child I enjoyed many sports, Rugby, Football, Basketball, Gymnastics, trampoline (my mum is a trampoline coach), fishing but most of all sailing which I accessed through Pevensey Bay Sailing Club. I spent many hours talking to my dad about tactics, courses, wind and tide and how they can affect a race. I found it difficult when my illness stopped me from taking part in most of these sports. For a few years I was in denial that my disability was getting the better of me, but I have accepted it now and the need to sail a more suitable boat. In these boats I can be competitive with able and less able bodied sailors as everyone competes more equally.

My passion for sailing has pulled me through some difficult times, I have always thrived on a challenge and to get myself back to the front of the fleet again has inspired me to start this campaign.

Support and Sponsorship

Sailing is a very expensive sport. Boats, equipment, maintenance, coaching, specialised clothing, travel and accommodation all contribute to a significant budget requirement.

Recent changes in the 2.4mR class rules means that my current 6 year old boat may now be outclassed. I, therefore, need a brand new or newer secondhand boat to enable me to be competitive at the highest level. I need new suits of sails and we would like to get a van that will enable me to travel to events with all my equipment and be able to sleep in overnight when required!

It is impossible for me and my family to sufficiently fund these areas. Success will only be possible with the financial support of others. If you feel that you may be able to sponsor me or support me in any other way please contact me!

Sponsors would be acknowledged on my website, with links to their own sites. Sponsors logos could be added to my boat, sails and my van. Paralympic sailing offers considerable publicity opportunities for companies. Generally disabled sailors vehicles are prominently parked at busy venues, the sailing areas are usually close to the shore enabling good spectator visibility and providing the opportunity for lower cost TV coverage.

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