Sail on, sailor: Canada Games medallist from Mabou eyes the next prize

19-year-old Siobhan MacDonald won bronze in the sailing competition in Winnipeg.

'The races were pretty sweet,' says Siobhan MacDonald

19-year-old sailor Siobhan MacDonald of Mabou accepts a bronze medal at the 2017 Canada Games. (Communications Nova Scotia)

Siobhan MacDonald of Mabou can cross another goal off her to-do list.

The 19-year-old sailor has brought home a bronze medal from the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg after setting her cap for the podium.

MacDonald was born missing part of one leg and one arm, so she sails a modified boat.

"It's called a 2.4 metre and it's a paralympic-class boat, which means that quadriplegics, amputees, a person with any type of disability can sail it, as well as able-bodied people," she explained.

Sailor Siobhan MacDonald was chosen as a flag-bearer at the 2017 Canada Games. (Communications Nova Scotia)

The competition, in which she was the only Nova Scotian, ran over five days.

"The races were pretty sweet," MacDonald remembered. "We'd have two to three races a day and it was different conditions every day.

"Some days we'd have two-metre waves, the next day it might be flat, no wind. It definitely kept you on your toes."

MacDonald's best day of competition was, in fact, that day with the two-metre waves.

"It's really important to get off that line as fast as you can every time," she said, "because with sailing, we're all kind of even when it comes to speed. I got really good starts, both of those races."

Back to school

As the event co-ordinator for the Municipality of Inverness County this summer, MacDonald has gone back to work since her return home from the Games, and she's working toward a degree in mechanical engineering.

"I'm always going to be sailing, for sure," she said. "But in the fall, I'll be back at Queen's University and sailing for the sailing team there.

"And there's worlds coming up this coming summer in the States, so that'll be the goal for the next little while."

MacDonald plans to compete in the International Federation of Disabled Sailing World Championships in 2018.

Other Nova Scotia para-athlete winners

Her medal was one of six won by Nova Scotia para-athletes at the Games. The others were:

  • Ben Brown, silver in the 200 metre, 400 metre and 1,500-metre wheelchair event.
  • Ryan Shay, silver in athletics discus.
  • Casey Perrin, bronze in athletics shot put.

With files from Information Morning Cape Breton