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The sailing doctor: Liverpool physician Tim Woodford named sailor of the year


Liverpool physician Tim Woodford, shown here with his laser-class sailboat in Kingston, was chosen Sail Nova Scotia’s 2018 Sailor of the Year.
Liverpool physician Tim Woodford, shown here with his laser-class sailboat in Kingston, was chosen Sail Nova Scotia’s 2018 Sailor of the Year. - Contributed

Liverpool physician Tim Woodford said he was surprised but thrilled to be chosen Sail Nova Scotia’s 2018 Sailor of the Year.

“It was just the icing on the cake,” Dr. Woodford recently said of the award that was announced in late November. “I really wasn’t expecting it but it was the highlight of an already exciting year.”

Dr. Woodford, the very popular family doctor who came to Liverpool in July 1986, grew up in the Baddeck area. Sailing has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember.

“I grew up sailing,” he said while commenting of his recent honour. “I have sailed for as long as I can remember. From the time I was a young kid until I was in my twenties, I sailed competitively in various classes and competitions.”

But, he explained, as his studies, medical career and family took priority in his life, he gave up competitive sailing. “But I love to sail and tried to work it in as much as I could and whenever I could.”

Then, he said, about five or six years ago, he began sailing lasers, a popular one-person dinghy-size sailboat. The hull is 4.2-metres long, with a waterline length of 3.81 m. The hull weight is 56.7 kg, which makes the boat light enough to lift onto a car-top rack.

“I was used to sailing larger boats but when I saw other people sailing lasers, I knew that was for me,” Dr. Woodford said. “And I’ve been loving it.”

In fact, the doctor loved sailing the laser so much that he began entering international competitions and started seeing impressive results. Entering the laser grand master division he competed in the 2014 World Sailing Championships held that year in Kingston, Ontario, where he finished fifth in his class. He competed in the same championships held in Mexico in 2016 and finished seventh in his class. The 2017 world championships were held in Croatia.

This past year, 2018, the championships were held in Ireland where he finished third in his class. “So we’ve seen improvement every year,” he laughed when talking about his podium finish. “But, yes, it is very rewarding.”

Beside the competitive factor, which he admitted gets his adrenalin flowing when he’s out on the water on his own, there are several other positive impacts of sailing.

“It’s good for me mentally and physically,” he said. “When I’m out of the water it’s just me and the boat, and it can be a challenge because there is no one else to help. The physical demands of sailing forces me to look after myself and that’s all positive.”

As well, Dr. Woodford said he finds that getting out on the water is relaxing for him and he’s already looking forward to next summer so he can get out on the water again.

“I really do love it,” he said, pointing out that he’s also looking ahead to the next two world championships — 2019 in the Netherlands and 2020 in Australia. “If possible, I plan to be there.”

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