Sail for Gold 2012: Collision curtails McIntyre’s comeback

Olympic gold-medallist Michael McIntyre collides with John Gimson and Robert Shanks during a race on day two

He may be an Olympic gold-medallist, but there was nothing Michael McIntyre could do to prevent a collision that curtailed his one-regatta comeback at Skandia Sail for Gold.

McIntyre joined forces with Hayling Island Sailing Club friend James Grant to compete in the star class in Weymouth, the first time he has done so since winning gold in Seoul in 1988 alongside Philip Bryn Vaile.

The 55-year-old, originally from Helensburgh but now living on Hayling Island in Hampshire, decided to compete in Sail For Gold to experience the course that will host the Olympics in under two months’ time.

But his surprise comeback ended early when he and Grant, 36, collided with John Gimson and Robert Shanks during a race on day two.

It left a gaping hole in their boat, which ironically belongs to Gimson.

“We had a slow start, had a couple of poor races and then in the third race we were starting to do a bit better, and then we were hit by another boat,” explained McIntrye.

“We were on starboard and he was port and it put a massive hole in the side of the boat and that was the end of our week after two races.

“It is extremely frustrating. This is our holiday, we were just doing the one regatta as just as a bit of fun.

“We borrowed the boat from John Gimson, and unfortunately he was the one who smacked the big hole in it!”

Grant, who is originally from Hayling Island but now lives in London, added: “He had just managed to get around the front of another boat so he had come quite a long way up and had to do a big dip and come behind us.

“But he stalled out and there was plenty of noise!”

McIntyre had been meaning to get back in the water for some time, and was keen to do it ahead of the home Games.

“For me this was just a nostalgia trip really,” he said.

“I never sailed the star again after winning the Olympics in 1988, and I had always meant to but never got around to it.

“It just seemed appropriate seeing as this was going to be the last open regatta in the UK before the star leaves the Olympics.”

Grant added: “The competitive juices were definitely flowing. We had our best start just before and managed to get to wind with the world champion and get ahead of him, so we will certainly take that one away!”

Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com.

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