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Hastings sailor with courage by the boatload

Hastings sailor with courage by the boatload

Otis Horne (19), a sailor from Hastings, is a finalist in the Courage in Sport category in the 2015 Attitude Awards. The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis with a disability.

Otis was born with Spina Bifida and started using a wheelchair when he was just three-years-old. Otis knew from a young age that sport was something he was passionate about and something he was pretty good at too.

When Otis was 12-years-old he gave sailing a go for the first time with Sailability Hawkes Bay. It didn’t take long for him to learn the ropes and he quickly learnt to sail solo.

“If I had to pick the best thing about sailing it would be the freedom of being in the boat by myself and doing everything by myself,” says Otis.

His biggest achievement came in April this year when he sailed solo across the notorious Cook Strait.

Otis faced 11 gruelling hours of challenging conditions with high winds in excess of 20 knots and swells over four metres cancelling ferries.

Exhausted and determined, he made it to shore near Mana Island just as the sun was setting and conditions had calmed. Only a few days later Otis asked his coach: “What are we doing next?’.

It is this courageous – if a little wild – attitude that has seen Otis go from strength to strength.

“Sport has increased my confidence and my physical ability,” he says. “I love the social aspects as well as the fitness and I have met some amazing people.”

Otis goes the extra nautical mile for others at Sailability, staying behind after training, offering support and assistance with fundraising and helping to get the word out about Sailability to others in the disability community.

Otis’ passion for sport is just as evident on terra firma. He’s tried wheelchair rugby and skiing and his next goal is to attend the eight day Activate course at Outward Bound.

He’s currently working as a teacher aide at Taradale High School.

Otis will find out if he has won at a black-tie gala on World Disability Day, December 3 at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre.

There are eight categories in the 2015 Attitude Awards: Courage in Sport, Spirit of Attitude, Making a Difference, Artistic Achievement, Youth, Junior, the Attitude ACC Employer Award and Sport Performer of the Year. The overall winner of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award is selected from the category winners and a People’s Choice winner and Hall of Fame inductee are also announced on the night.

Attitude Awards Trustee Dan Buckingham, a member of the elite national wheelchair rugby team the Wheel Blacks, says: “It's always an exciting time here at Attitude as we find out who the finalists are and count down to the big night. The Awards reflect what Attitude is all about – sharing stories that prove people with disabilities can overcome adversity and achieve greatness, whether that be big or small.”

“We thank our fantastic family of sponsors who allow us to present the Attitude Awards year on year. Collectively we are changing people’s view of what is achievable when someone lives with a disability.”

Dan encourages everyone to visit AttitudeLive.com in early November to see short films of the finalists and to vote for the person most deserving of the ‘People’s Choice Award’.

The Courage in Sport Award is sponsored by Westpac. Sue Foley, Director Corporate Affairs says Westpac is incredibly proud to support for the Attitude Awards and the Courage in Sport category.

“This category recognises truly inspirational sportsmen and women who absolutely epitomise our Kiwi values – a ‘can do’ attitude and the bravery to aim high,” she says.

“The stories of this year’s incredible finalists are a reminder to us all of what can be achieved when you have the courage to dream. We wish them all the best of luck.”

Other sponsors supporting the Awards include: ACC, Drake Medox, Ministry of Health, Barfoot & Thompson, IHC Foundation, Air New Zealand, Lion Foundation, Invacare and the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust.

Chief Executive of ACC Scott Pickering says ACC is proud to be principal sponsor of the awards for the eighth year, including sponsorship of the Attitude ACC Employer Award and the Attitude ACC Supreme Award.

“The Attitude Awards shine a light on New Zealand’s unsung heroes. At ACC we’re delighted to support the Awards and to acknowledge New Zealanders who live life to the fullest, achieve their goals and provide role models to our community.”

For tickets to the Attitude Awards gala evening on December 3 contact Sue Wales-Earl at sue@attitudeawards.org or phone 09 378 1564.

For the latest on the Awards and the Attitude TV programme:
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Watch previous Awards footage at www.AttitudeLive.com


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