A grandfather and Olympic medallist has proved that sailing really can be a sport for life after topping the participation leaderboard at his local sailing club.
Alan Warren, who won a silver medal with David Hunt in the Tempest at the Munich 1972 Games, now sails with his grandson Will Carroll as his crew.
The family pairing topped Shoreham Sailing Club’s participation leaderboard completing 33 races this year in their Merlin, and plan to continue their racing streak at Chichester Yacht Club’s Snowflake series.
Photo – Alan with his Olympic medal
Alan said: “I have always been very competitive, way back I was a mad car driver, but fortunately I had the sense to resist a motorbike or I would not have lived long. I was bad enough on a bicycle.
“I then discovered dinghy racing where all your efforts were channelled into going as fast as possible and winning. It suited me fine.
“Well, now my age has caught up with me,” continued Alan, who turns 89 later this month, “but there is still a glimmer of my old self left and once I get back in the boat, I can accomplish something of my old self despite my age, so I haven’t stopped.
“Fortunately, I have my grandson as a crew (I call him my carer) and he knows my shortcomings. I am no longer am expected to haul the rescue boats up the slipway.”
Will said: “I have been sailing with him for almost 18 years. He’s always been keen to rush out in any conditions and he still has a stable hand in the windiest conditions.
“In the beginning, he was often dragging me around and telling me what to do, but in recent years the roles have somewhat reversed. He calls me the mechanic in the boat because I do everything else while he focuses on steering and playing the main sail.
“During Covid, he was finding that he was getting unfit so instead of just going for a long walk he decided to start his Olympic training again, but jumped straight into it and did his back in. He was OK and we all laughed about it.”
So there we have it, Alan Warren, an inspiration to us all. We wish Alan a happy 89th birthday on 13 December.
Find out more about how to get started on the water.