"Imagine how you’d feel if your very successful and comfortable life was suddenly devastated by a debilitating illness leaving you largely dependent on others for your everyday needs?

That’s exactly what happened to well known local sailing identity, Clontarf resident Greg Hyde.

Greg has been the Windsurfing World Champion, earned a plaque in Manly West Esplanade’s walk of Olympians representing his country in Los Angeles in 1984, was the National 16ft skiff champion, and joint helm of Manly Yacht Club’s winning entry 'Cuckoo’s Nest' in the storm ravaged 1993 Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

A sailing resume to be proud of when most sailors were amateurs and also had day jobs to attend to!

Thirteen years ago, Greg was cut down at the height of his sailing prowess by a rare and usually fatal form of encephalitis, subsequently he suffered epilepsy, and in 2008 had a stroke which resulted in partial right-sided paralysis, short-term memory loss, and speech difficulties.

Greg has shown tremendous courage overcoming his frustration and coming to terms with his current situation, and rather than adopt a' victim' mentality, has chosen to concentrate on becoming the best he can possibly be with what he’s got, and in the process be an inspirational role model for others with disabilities.

Recently introduced to Sailability, a volunteer organisation that gives people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to experience 'Freedom on the water,' Greg has shown that mercifully he’s lost none of his natural ability in the water sport he loves.

Through Sailablity Greg has been introduced to sailing the single seater 2.4m class of dinghy, an exhilarating and challenging experience for most able-bodied sailors!

Thrilled to be back at the helm of a lively craft, in April he attended a Paralympics training camp in Perth with eight others trying for the place in the 2.4m dinghy class with the goal of representing Australia at sailing in the 2012Paralympics games in London.

Greg has accomplished much in the last six months. Not only has he been selected for this elite squad, he has also obtained major sponsorship for a new 2.4m from Finland, courtesy of Windsurfer Australia, and much appreciated new sailing clothes from Gill (the 2.4m can be a very wet boat!)

Finding a sponsor for sails is now a top priority.

The new boat arrives in July, and will be kept with the Sailability NSW fleet of 2.4m on the hard stand at Crystal Bay, courtesy of the RPAYC.

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