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Island sailors named to national teams for 2022-23 seasons

Maura Dewey is hoping her sails billow all the way to Paris. “Getting to the Olympic level is what drives my dreams,” said the Royal Victoria Yacht Club sailor.
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Maura Dewey has competed in several national events over the past two seasons. SAILING CANADA

Maura Dewey is hoping her sails billow all the way to Paris.

“Getting to the 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 a product of her family’s obsession with the sport:

“My parents and grandparents sailed. They visited the Island from Alberta and were smitten and said they had to get to the ocean. I was enrolled in sailing lessons as a kid.”

Those lessons stuck. And then some to carry the Lambrick Park Secondary graduate to the national development team.

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

It doesn’t hurt Dewey’s particular sporting path by also being in grad school at UVic and working on her PhD. in meteorology: “I love the complexity of racing. Every race is different. There are no two races that are alike due to the differing water and weather conditions. I’m in a single-handed [boat]. It’s simple yet complex at the same time.”

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

“The biggest thing is not to look in the mirror,” quipped McRoberts, who turned 60 in September.

“I still have the drive. I just love it,” added McRoberts, who has been in a wheelchair since he was 18 after diving into a shallows in Lake Erie.

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

But there will be no Paris 2024 for McRoberts because sailing was taken off the Paralympics roster following Rio 2016 as the Games looks to rotate the participating sports.

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

With such an irrepressible spirit, nobody should bet against that.

Sailing has been on the Olympic program since the first Games at Athens in 1896 and has missed only 1904 in St. Louis.

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

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com