Michael McIntyre

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Olympic Gold Medal winning Yachtsman
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Michael "Mike" Mackay McIntyre was born on the 29th June 1956 in Glasgow to eminent Veterinary Scientist Professor Ian McIntyre and his wife Ruth.

Mike's Father had left the UK in 1963 to take a select team of colleagues from Glasgow to inaugurate a school of veterinary surgery at the newly established University of East Africa in Nairobi.

In 1968, Mike's father Professor Ian McIntyre returned to Scotland to the Glasgow Veterinary School, and he and his wife Ruth, and Mike's two brothers Peter & John, moved into ‘McIntyre’, the home in Stuckenduff, Shandon, which they had planned whilst in Kenya.

Once settled back in Scotland, Mike attended Hermitage Academy, and as a naturally keen sportsman, Ian encouraged his sons to ‘take to the Clyde’ and to sail.

During his youth he became a very talented sportsman, becoming a Scottish Schools swimming champion at 12, and it was during this period he developed a love of the sea and became an extremely talented yachtsman.

After over six years of training, he sailed a Finn class dinghy at the 1994 Los Angeles Olympic Games and was considered a real medal hope for Britain as he was reigning European champion in the class. Mike finished 7th.

He would make amends for finishing outside the medal positions, some 4 years later at the 1998 Seoul Olympics. Partnering Philip Bryn Vaile in the Star Class, Mike went on to win Gold for Team GB. The pair had a solid start and won the second race of the regatta, and finished fourth on day three, but on day Five Vaile hit his head shortly before the race and needed stitches to continue.

They went ahead with the race and finished 14th. A seventh place in race six left them fourth and needing to win the final race for victory and hoping that their American rivals Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenel finished worse than sixth . In the event the USA boat did not finish after mast damage and the British boat won gold by 11 seconds, with a total of 45.7 points.

Mike now lives at Hayling Island, Hampshire where he is an active member of the local Sailing Club, but he still remains the Honorary Commodore of Helensburgh Sailing Club and still sails under its burgee.

Unsurprisingly, given his pedigree, Mike has served as Chairman of the Royal Yachting Association’s Olympic steering group.

In June 2012, Mike made his return to the Star Class competitive arena, when he entered the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta (4th-9th June). The pull of racing in Weymouth and Portland (London 2012 Olympic Sailing venue) in the Star class was just too much, that Mike returned to compete, once again, in the Star class. His previous gold medal winning partner Bryn Vaile was replaced by Hayling Island sailing club friend James Grant from Emsworth, Hampshire for the one-off event.

Mike explained his reasons for his unexpected return. “It’s largely nostalgia that has led me to race at this time. I have watched my daughter compete in the 470 at Skandia Sail for Gold over the last couple of years and thought I should be out there myself. This is the last chance I will get to race a Star in an open regatta in the UK so I am going to enjoy every aspect of the event. I have only notched up about 30 minutes in a Star since 1988 and the first race in the Regatta will only be my 28th in total, including the seven from Games in Seoul in this class. It just seemed appropriate seeing as this was going to be the last open regatta in the UK before the Star leaves the Olympics."

Unfortunately the return was not to have a happy ending. Mike's surprise comeback ended early when he and Grant collided with John Gimson and Robert Shanks during a race on day two. The collision left a gaping hole in Mike's boat, which ironically belonged to Gimson. Mike said at the time: "We were on starboard and he was port and it put a massive hole in the side of the boat and that was the end of our week after two races.

Mike's daughter Eilidh McIntyre is a rising star in the world of sailing, racing in the 470 Class. Born in Winchester in 1994, but having grown up on Hayling Island, Eilidh is hoping to emulate her Father by winning an Olympic Sailing Gold.