FRESH from winning gold at the Miami Olympic classes regatta, Portland’s Megan Pascoe is gearing up for an action-packed year.
The 2.4mR keeboat sailor beat her biggest rival – British Para-lympic champion Helena Lucas – and a 26-boat fleet, to secure victory on Biscayne Bay.
Lucas battled back into medal contention to take bronze following an over-the-starting-line (OCS) penalty in race two of the regatta.
Pascoe, aiming to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, admits the win is a timely confidence boost.
She said: “We are still not sure when the trials will happen but obviously a win is a win and it means I am still world number one. I have a lot more work to do but I’m ecstatic that I finished every race inside the top three.
“My speed is getting faster and my racing more consistent in every competition so, with a bit more practice, I’m sure when trials come round I have a good shot at it.”
Pascoe, who narrowly missed out on London 2012 Paralympic selection, credits her new coach Rob Wilson for upping her game.
She said: “Rob has coached the winning Extreme 40 Wave Mus-cat team plus many more teams to victory in many classes. He has made me go faster and has confidence in my speed, which has made sailing easy.
“In the last year and a bit, things have just clicked.”
The 27-year-old’s next big events are the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma in March, the Hyeres World Cup in April, the IFDS Worlds in August in Hali-fax, Nova Scotia, then the 2.4mR Open Worlds in Toronto, Ontario in September.
Although Pascoe will be in Toronto on September 21, she is determined to participate in the Guinness World Record attempt in honour of her former British Sailing team-mate And-rew ‘Bart’ Simpson, who tragically died in an America’s Cup training accident.
‘Bart’s Bash’ aims to be the biggest-ever sailing race, involving yachts, dinghies and windsurfers world-wide, competing simultaneously at 11am (BST).
Castle Cove Sailing Club (CCSC) and Weymouth Sailing Club (WSC) member Pascoe said: “I’m hoping I can persuade National Yacht Club in Toronto to host an event.
“Bart’s Bash will be the most amazing spectacle. In Weymouth alone, I know how big some of our Yacht Club of Weymouth events can get so this is going to be massive.”
WSC and CCSC are among the 322 clubs signed up so far.
CCSC spokesman Rob Smith said: “Bart’s Bash is a multi-club and multi-national event, created by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation as a special way to remember and capture the spirit of the late Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.
“In addition to promoting sailing, raising awareness of the foundation and its core objective of encouraging youngsters into sailing, it is also aimed at giving thousands of sailors a great simultaneous event with the opportunity to get results against the best in the world, raise funds and achieve a Guinness world record.”