Paralympic success

TheDailySail speaks to Helena Lucas about her transition from the 470 to a Paralympic campaign in the 2.4mR
Helena Lucas is one of Britain's top ranked 2.4mR sailors, something she has proved consistently this year by winning the Hyeres Olympic classes regatta with straight firsts and more recently by her third place at the 2.4mR World Championship. Lucas has only been sailing the 2.4mR for two years and yet is already a regular podium-placer in the class. What is immediately surprising to most is that although Lucas, 30, is a now Paralympic sailor she started off her professional career sailing in the women’s 470 class, undertaking an Olympic campaign for six years. The move from the able-bodied 470 to the Paralympic 2.4mR is not a move made every day, yet she views it as just another change of class. “I had sailed the 470 for about six years which was really good fun, but I just got to a point where I think it was getting a little bit stale” explains Lucas “I was looking to get into another class and the RYA suggested trying out in the 2.4 - so here I am.” Lucas’ disability seems something that she is not overly keen to focus on. She explains that this is because she just views herself as a professional athlete and her disability is neither here nor there. Lucas was born with a defect in both of her thumbs - enough to gain her Paralympic status, but not so great as to prevent her from competing against able-bodied people in other classes. In short she gets the best of both worlds. Like so many Olympic sailors Lucas started off her sailing career very young. Aged 8, she raced Toppers at her local club in Surrey as a young child and never really looked back. She competed in the Topper National Championship, her first major event, in 1988 when she