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Sailing creates leaders not followers, says Bromby

If it hadn’t been for sailing Peter Bromby might have easily fallen through the cracks.

Like many young men his age at the time, Bromby engaged in anti social activities and hung on the streets in Somerset as a teenager.

But his life eventually took a dramatic turn for the better when he was introduced to sailing. It was the beginning of a journey that, not only reformed the well-known trucker, but led him to an unprecedented four Olympic appearances.

“When I was 16 I was on the wall at Royal Naval Field and the thing that wrestled me away from the social ills was sailing. I got my head wrapped around sailing and never looked back,” he said. “I don’t think there’s another sport out there that can help develop a young kid like sailing.”

Bromby said sailing also creates independent thinkers and leaders.

“Young sailors have an awareness around them through having to constantly monitor the conditions they are in and the competitors and that helps to build up an independence because they have to be independent thinkers. Sailing creates leaders not followers,” he added.

Bromby recently dropped a bombshell when he pulled the plug on his 2012 Olympic qualifying bid. He also bowed out of competing on the Olympic Class circuit in the Star to bring the curtain down on a remarkable sailing career at that level.

In 2000 the local sailor narrowly missed out on an Olympic bronze medal after placing fourth in Sydney, Australia sailing with crew Lee White. But he reckons that it is only a matter of time before a Bermudian sailor stands proudly on the Olympic podium.

“I think winning an Olympic medal is an attainable goal,” he said. “Do I see it in the near future? No. But with a lot of hard work I think it is an attainable goal.

“I sit on the Board of Governors for Bermuda Sailing Association and we are watching the development of the kids coming along and we are trying to make them think like Olympians and not just Optimist sailors.”

Bromby said much more goes into Olympic qualification than many people are led to believe.

“It’s a reason why they call it an Olympic qualifying campaign because it’s just not about jumping in the boat and doing a race,” he said. “It’s a whole pathway to get there and a lot of these guys when you start talking about the Olympics to them their eyes get all big and light up and they all want to go.

“But between where they are at that point and getting to the Olympics there’s a lot of water running under that bridge and they have to cross that.”

Bromby believes Bermuda has some of the most ideal sailing conditions in the world, conditions that are more than suitable for developing sailors.

“What we have here is the natural resources and a place where you can go sailing all year around in some of the most testing conditions,” he said. “Bermuda is just a fabulous place to sail.”

Like many of his peers, Bromby would also like to see sailing elevated to national sports status and feels that the additional funding that comes with such a privilege will help take the sport to a whole new level.

“If sailing was to get that level of funding that we’ve seen other sports receive then you would see our sport go ahead in leaps and bounds,” he said. “Sailing is certainly a cost conscious sport and so money makes a big difference.”

Peter Bromby and Lee White in action.

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Published November 24, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 24, 2011 at 8:07 am)

Sailing creates leaders not followers, says Bromby

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