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23 Aug 2007

As there are no other disability sailing crews in Britain to test themselves against, Thomas has been hiring a training crew to compete against them, which has steered the team to progression.

With GB in medal contention at the World Championships, a total six countries will be seeking to finish in the medals, not least last year’s silver and bronze World medallists, Germany and Norway.

Athens Olympic medal winners, Greece and Israel are set to threaten the GB campaign, with France also looking likely to unsettle the waters.

Boating from Rochester Yacht Club, The World Championships will take place across seven days, including a mixture of single-person, two-person and three-person keel boats. The event may require up to 12 races in one day from some of the crews.

Thomas explains: "We’ll race anything up to ninety minutes three or four times a day and might end up being on the water for a total of about six hours. It’s easy in light weather, but you get pretty tired if the winds are reaching 25 knots. Our fitness will work to our favour – I think we’re one of the fittest crews in the competition."

Just climbing aboard the three-man keel boat will be an achievement for Thomas, whose sailing career was jeopardised after dropping a 50 kilogram bar on his finger during training earlier this year, for which he underwent surgery to reset the bone.

Thomas plays an important role in the boat, as the central voice between Robertson on the steering tiller, and Stodel, the tactician.

With responsibility for the main sail sheet, Thomas’ premier job is to keep the boat moving fast, pulling the main sheet to affect the crew’s direction and ensuring messages are passed between the crew.