Two years ago, Stephen Dargavel could never have imagined that he would be participating in a prestigious sailing event at Rutland Water but in August that is exactly what he did.
Incredibly the Girton Sailing Club member was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2016 when he then had to give up the sport. But here he is at the helm again after defying the odds, doggedly resisting the cancer with lots of great support from his family and medical treatment services. Earlier this year Stephen felt fit enough to visit the sailing club where had been a member since 2008 following retirement to Lincolnshire. Stephen now 71, a former environmentally led industrial construction consultant who ran his own award-winning business decided he wanted to become a full-time artist and studied at the University of Lincoln. Since that he has achieved fame in the art world and more about Stephen can be found on his website www.stephendargavel.com
On his club visit, he was encouraged by the Commodore, Martin Appleby to join the Sailability Group which caters for sailors with disabilities of all kinds, it is supported by other volunteer members and uses boats that are designed for this purpose, giving extra safety without impeding the enjoyment of competitive sailing.
Stephen says “Sailing has been a great pleasure to me but I had to give up when I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2016, joining Girton’s Sailability programme has been fantastic and it would be impossible to overstate the benefits this has brought me, I jumped at the chance of getting involved again”
“In no time it seems I was put forward to compete in the multi-class Sailability Regatta at Rutland Water the first week of August , the volunteers at Girton took the boat apart ready for trailing to Rutland by fellow member Mark Andrews, and there Stephen was greeted by a group of enthusiastic helpers who re-assembled the craft and made it ready for the water.
This was the beginning of “3 fantastically enjoyable days of generally getting in the way of a fleet of highly competent but at all times friendly hot shots”.
The boat Stephen uses is a Challenger Trimaran designed for “Sailability” users and leased from the Challenger Organisation (a charity set up to provide sailing for people with disabilities) It is a fast boat and can be used solo or with a second crew. It is widely used and has a highly competitive following.
He was assisted to Rutland by Girton club member Mark Andrews towing the Challenger there and was greeted by a group of enthusiastic helpers who re-assembled the craft and made it ready for the water.
Eighteen Challengers competed in Stephens class at Rutland Water, he didn’t get amongst the medals but the benefits of sailing are worth more than that, he thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience which was something that didn’t seem possible a couple of years ago. He’s now looking forward to getting back on the water at Girton and practicing for the next big event.
Article:- Bob Warriner – Girton Sailing Club