The USA's Gene HINKEL is the Chief Measurers at the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition and one of disabled sailing's most devoted servants.
Gene HINKEL, an ISAF International Measurer, has been involved with disabled sailing since 1994 when he became chairman of the committee that oversees the sailing centre at the St Petersburg Yacht Club in Florida.
St Petersburg Yacht Club purchased 10 Sonars and has hosted many disabled sailing events.
For the first two years of his involvement with disabled sailing HINKEL spent 35 weekends a year working with different disabled sailing teams and developing benches and seats for them to use in their Sonars.
Gene HINKEL coached John ROSS-DUGGAN
(USA) for a while before introducing Serge JORGENSEN (USA) to ROSS-DUGGAN. JORGENSEN became ROSS-DUGGAN's sailing coach and helped him to win the bronze in Atlanta. JORGENSON is now the President of International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS).
All of the teams are grateful for the help and support that HINKEL has given them over the years. To show their thanks to HINKEL, after they won the gold medal in Athens, Dror COHEN
, Arnon EFRATI
and Benny VEXLER
(ISR) presented a very special award to HINKEL. Pre-engraved with HINKEL's name on, the heavy bronze medal bears the inscription, "Until we meet in Jerusalem."
Says HINKEL, "Apparently, it is the only one that has been awarded to someone outside of Israel."
Another award that is near and dear to HINKEL's heart is the Gay S. Lynn Trophy for outstanding contribution to disabled sailing. HINKEL was awarded the trophy in 2005.
HINKEL's heavy lifting as Chief Measurer at the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition is over and he is out on the water watching the racing. If anyone breaks down and needs to replace equipment, it will need to be inspected by the devoted HINKEL.
Results - click here
ISAF Paralympic Games microsite - www.sailing.org/paralympics