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From Rhu to Rio

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW FOR SAIL SCOTLAND

Luke Patience Andre Bittencourt British Sailing TeamWith Rio 2016 approaching fast, Scotland’s Luke Patience is hoping to go one better than the silver medal he won, competing in the 470 class at the 2012 Games in Beijing…

Luke took a few minutes out of his busy training schedule to talk to RYA Scotland’s Claire Caffrey about learning to sail in Scotland and how that prepared him to compete anywhere in the world.

WHO GOT YOU INTO SAILING?

My father got me into it. My mother and father have both had a huge influence on my career, but there are so many along the way. Kirsty Bonar, Ant Clay and James Date in the early days.

WHAT WAS THE FIRST BOAT SAILED AND WHERE?

The first boat I ever set foot in was an Optimist at Rhu Marina on the Clyde.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE LEARNING TO SAIL IN SCOTLAND?

Windy and good for the soul! It was an amazing place to learn to adapt with tidal and geographical inconsistencies as I raced among the tidal sea lochs in the highlands. It made me hard to the elements I think.

WHY IS SCOTLAND SUCH A GOOD PLACE TO GET INTO SAILING?

It’s humble. It teaches a variety of skills due to its variable climate. And I think the effort we as a family have to put in just to get south and race with other clubs is a commitment that helps through all aspects. We’ve had to work hard up there to be able to be competitive with the southerners.

WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TAKE UP SAILING?

I would say it’s one of the most creative and dynamic sports in the world. There’s never a dull moment and it’s never over till it’s over due to Mother Nature being extremely complex. Controlling a boat is a delight and totally satisfying. I wouldn’t do anything else in the world. Once you get your feet wet, you are hooked!

HOW DO YOU PROGRESS FROM A CLUB SAILOR TO THE OLYMPICS? GOALS, GOALS, GOALS.

Use stepping stones to set small realistic goals. Set it-execute it. But at the heart of it all, trust your instinct and stay true to your principles, there are many sheep that will tell you otherwise but you must do it YOUR way.

SO, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR RIO?

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going there to try and bring home a gold medal. That is the goal, it’s what drives us every day, it’s what gets me out of bed in the morning and it’s what has driven me for all these years.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SAILING VENUE IN THE UK?

I would say Prestwick in south west Scotland – big ocean!

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST PASSIONS OUTSIDE OF SAILING?

Home, Scotland, whisky, the sea, music! There’s nothing better for me than exploring the west coast with the boys I grew up with. It’s a great adventure!

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM HOLIDAY?

Back home to Tiree. If I could travel the world, I would choose Scotland every time!

WHAT OTHER SPORTS DO YOU PLAY?

Anything in the sea – surfing is my go to. I love rock climbing, I used to love downhill mountain biking but it’s a bit too risky these days!

WHAT WOULD YOU LOVE TO DO BUT NEVER HAVE THE TIME OR MONEY FOR IT?

Make a documentary of our sailing career that featured all the day to day activity and excitement of the sport.

WHAT WORD OR PHRASE MOST DEPICTS YOUR PERSONALITY?

Excitable.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LUCKY CHARMS OR RITUALS?

A lucky charm of a wee green man.

 

Well, good luck Luke… from Rhu to Rio, Scotland will be cheering you on this summer!

 

Image Credits:
1) Luke in action © onEdition
2) Luke Patience © Andre Bittencourt, British Sailing Team

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