Rory McKinna – A Sailing Success Story

Fifteen year old sailor Rory McKinna, from Stewarton in Ayrshire, began racing the Hansa 303 two years ago in a dinghy borrowed from Clyde Cruising Club, who are based at Bardowie Loch. Following his first regatta in 2015 he got the bug!

Much success on the water swiftly followed as he won his first Scottish TT Hansa 303 Singles trophy in 2016, as well as being placed fourth at the Hansa Nationals.  He finished off the year being shortlisted for the RYA Scotland Young Sports Person of the Year and the Ayrshire Sportability Young Sportsperson of the Year.

The 2017 season soon arrived and the boat in which Rory predominantly sails was given World Class Status in a bid to reinstate sailing back into the 2024 Paralympics.   With this promotion, the opportunities increased and Rory has taken full advantage as he has travelled the length and breadth of the UK and Europe competing, obtaining the following results:

  • Scottish TT 303 Singles Champion 2017
  • Scottish Club Trophy Champion 2017
  • UK Hansa 303 Singles Champion 2017
  • RYA Multiclass Regatta 303 Singles Champion
  • Silver Medal at the European Para Youth Games 2017, Genoa Italy
  • Represented GB World Sailing Para Development Programme in Meze, France
  • Member of the UK Hansa Race Team at the Hansa European Championships in Meze, France
  • Winner of the Hansa Nationals Endeavour Trophy for the 2nd year

European Para Youth Games 2017

Rory’s commitment to sailing, with the support of his mum, Angela, is exemplary.  The 23 hour journey by car to the South of France in order to drop off a boat ahead of the European Para Youth Games 2017 encapsulates this sentiment!  The event would be held at the Yacht Club Meze, however, they had to make their way to Genoa, Italy (by train) to meet up with his Great Britain team mates, who would occupy two boats in the competition.

Rory McKinna    (Ayrshire)
Ryan Sallens       (Ayrshire)
Jenna Snedker  (Kent)
Adam Billany      (Durham)

On this occasion, Rory teamed up with Jenna Snedker, whilst fellow Ayrshire sailor partnered Adam Billany.  Following several days of intense training the GB team competed in the Championships, with Rory and Jenna finishing on the podium with a silver medal.  Ryan and Adam were placed fourth.

Directly following the European Youth Championships Rory attended the World Sailing Development Programme and he was the only GB sailor (and the only youth) in attendance. Ten sailors from Austria, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey and Samoa, including, Olympic Gold medallist and the current Hansa Champion participated in the programme.  The young Scot learned a lot over five days of classroom and practical sessions.

Sailing: An accessible sport

The Hansa Access Dinghies are designed to be enjoyed by absolutely everybody and are extremely simple to sail.  They can be accessed by anyone, including those who may need a hoist to access.  Importantly they are designed not to capsize and the Hansa 303 can be sailed by one or two people, enabling all to gain confidence on the water.

Scotland has a number of these boats available and they can be accessed at venues such as, Bardowie Loch Glasgow, Clyde Muirshiel, Lochwinnoch and at the Galloway Activity Centre Castle Douglas.  These venues welcome anybody interested in having a go.

Scotland began its own Scottish TT racing series last year whereby points were awarded at several venues.   Despite nobody owning their own boat, everyone can participate.

For more information on accessible sailing please contact the RYA Scotland on 0131 317 7388 or