16 Mitala Street, Newport NSW 2106   Tel: 61 2 9998 3700
 
 

       

16 Mitala Street, Newport NSW 2106
Tel: 61 2 9998 3700

 
 

Invictus Games: Outback veteran training in desert to sail for Australia

Updated yesterday at 2:30pm

How do you train for a competitive sailing tournament while living in the desert?

Ask Marcus Wilson from Broken Hill, in far-west New South Wales, who is training for the 2018 Invictus Games.

The former Australian Army gunner and medic, who served for 14 years, has been riding his bike through the outback and mimicking ducking under booms and pulling ropes in the gym in preparation.

He has been selected to represent Australia in the sailing during the Games at which 500 athletes from 18 countries will compete in 11 different sports in Sydney in October.

All competitors are current and ex-military personnel who have been wounded, injured, or become ill during service.

Wilson, who grew up in Brisbane and was introduced to sailing by his father, will be competing in an Elliott seven-metre keelboat with four others.

"It's a sport I really enjoy. My dad introduced me to it when I was knee-high to a grasshopper and I hope to share it with my kids one day," he said.

Currently the manager of the Royal Flying Doctor Service base in Broken Hill, Wilson is proud of overcoming the challenges his geographical location has presented to training.

"Because I am by myself, it's required a lot more self-motivation and digging internally to get myself out here each day," he said.

"In summer there were days when it was far too hot, and I didn't want to get up at five o'clock to ride, but I got there."

'Wild dream' to sail in Games

A recipient of both a bravery medal and a nursing service cross, Wilson suffered numerous musculoskeletal injuries while serving in the army.

 

"I damaged my spinal cord and for a period of about five years, I was unable to walk, stand, or sit very long," he said.

"Thankfully we found the right medication to get me back to work but between the nerve damage and my shoulder, that's what really limits my abilities."

Wilson said he was thrilled to have overcome so many physical difficulties to make it into the team and has travelled to Sydney several times to attend training camps.

"It was just a wild dream not even 12 months ago, just something to motivate myself and get out and meet people," he said.

"It's only 45 days away now and I'm just pinching myself that it's even real."

Bringing skills to team

Sports competition manager for sailing at the Invictus Games, Tom Spithill, said he was impressed by Wilson's commitment to his training, especially living so far from the ocean.

"There's no shortcut for on-water time, but guys like Marcus really put in," he said.

"These guys, when they come down and train, they know they can't take the on-water time for granted."

Mr Spithill said Wilson was bringing crucial skills to the team.

"Marcus generally seems like a pretty calm guy and they're going to find themselves in situations on race day that don't go their way," he said.

"Sometimes there can be an element of luck in there, so you've got to have a good crew that can shake off any of those bits of ill luck and keep the team motivated and focussed.

"I think that may be where Marcus will be able to put a positive spin on some situations."

 

 

Overcoming adversity

Mr Spithill said working with the Invictus Games had been rewarding for both veterans and the broader sporting community.

 

"I think the guys revel in that chance to work again with one another and be in that team environment [and] they've got a bit of a goal to work towards," he said.

"That's one of the great things about the Invictus Games.

"A lot of guys may have been sitting inside, not coming out of the house for long periods of time and through the sport, it's got them involved with the sailing community.

"Marcus is known around our yacht club by all our other members and I think he's found a couple of friendships — in the Invictus Games and also in the sailing community."

Mr Wilson said he hoped the Games would motivate other people with injuries or disabilities to get into sport.

"Just showing that ordinary people like me can overcome injures and get out," he said.

"I hope it inspires other people to do the same for themselves; that people look at us and think 'I could do that too'."

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

Mirabaud Sailing Image of the Year Awards

20 Sep 2018

Congratulations to Warwick Crossman whose image of our Centreboard Sailing at RPA Optimist sailors racing in the Selden Ice Breaker Series has been selected in the top eighty images for this year’s...

Read more

Melbourne Cup Bookings Open

19 Sep 2018

Bookings for Melbourne Cup are now open - click here to book  

Read more

Boatyard Bookings Filling Fast

19 Sep 2018

There has been an increase in the number of people heeding the advice of the Boatyard and getting their bookings in early for the Summer sailing season with spaces filling...

Read more

Coach takes the title again

18 Sep 2018

The David Lukins Regatta was run over the weekend of the 15th and 16th of September 2017. This was the ninth running of the event since its inception in 2009 to commemorate...

Read more

RPAYC Crew on Top after Day 1

18 Sep 2018

Day 1 of the Australian Women’s Match Racing Championship has delivered a perfect scorecard for sister combo, Juliet and Clare Costanzo from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. Along with...

Read more

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary Bartercard Sail Paradise Series, an “Early Bird” Race Entry Fee on offer now!

14 Sep 2018

Celebrating the Gold Coast’s 10th Anniversary Sail Paradise Series, host Club, Southport Yacht Club have opened an early bird race entry fee! A count down of 20 days to go to...

Read more

Pitt Point our own piece of Pittwater History

13 Sep 2018

‘Pitt Point’ on Scotland IslandAs many will know, Pitt Island, named by Captain Arthur Phillip, was renamed Scotland Island by Andrew Thompson, to whom it was granted by Governor Macquarie...

Read more

Never Stop Learning: Training at The Alfred's this Spring!

11 Sep 2018

Spring is nearly upon us and we’re very quickly approaching temperatures that make training on this little piece of paradise that is Pittwater so enjoyable! The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht...

Read more

Club Berth & Hardstand Availability

11 Sep 2018

Marina BerthsThe Club is seeking expressions of interest from Members (and prospective Members) for berths currently available on the marina.  The berths currently available are outlined below and includes the...

Read more

About RPAYC

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - RPAYC is a yacht racing and sailing club based on Pittwater.

The yacht club offers year round inshore and offshore racing, cruising, centreboard dinghy racing, sail training and courses plus has a large marina accommodating up to 352 vessels.

There is also a modern boatyard with comprehensive marine services to help maintain your vessel.

Membership, including family membership is now available.

Upcoming Events

Sign Up for News

Register here to receive the latest information on news and events at the Club
Please wait

Weather Links

Check the latest conditions:

Welcome to RPAYC