Sailors with disABILITIES

Interview with Greg Pugh

Greg in the white hat crewing in SWD's first week in Melbourne, March 2015.

When Greg Pugh was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis six years ago, he lost his job and his marriage. Enduring some truly harrowing emotions, the 49 year-old entered a bleak period in his life, marred with uncertainty.

“I was essentially sitting on the couch every day, not doing anything,” said Greg.

However, six months ago Greg made a decision that would transform his life and flip his circumstances.

Having minor experience in sailing, Greg decided to join ‘Oceans of Hope’, a sailing program for people with MS. Soon after, he found himself at ‘Sailors with Disabilities’, and has since become one of our greatest volunteers.

Since joining our team, Greg’s life has radically changed. He has sailed over 3000 nautical miles on world class 50 ft yachts, competed in the Sydney to Hobart, and is now a valued member of the SWD team, running the ‘Winds of Joy’ and ‘Winds of Change’ Programs.
“It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind,” recalled Greg. “I don’t sit around much anymore, I’m too busy. It’s just been the most unbelievable positive force in my life.”

In his short time aboard, Greg’s work has been unparalleled. He has expanded SWD’s reach, establishing affiliations between ‘Sailing Sclerosis’ and ‘SWD’, secured a free birth at the CYC and kick-started an MS sailing day in Darling Harbour.

However, most recently, Greg sailed down to Melbourne with the team to run our start up initiatives in the southern state.

Having walked a similar path to many of those who climbed aboard, Greg could tell the experiences that SWD were able to provide to the children of Melbourne were invaluable.

“It was fantastic. They kept asking ‘When can you come back?’” said Greg.

“Look, I know what sitting around and not pursuing desires is like. With these children, after spending an hour or two on the boat, they totally transform, they start thinking they can totally do this. And that’s what I love the most”.

Greg spent five days volunteering with the team after sailing down from Sydney on the ‘Kayle’ and is confident in SWD’s potential in Victoria. “Hearing all the comments and responses, has been great, it’s got a big tick all round”.

Now returned from Melbourne Greg is currently preparing to go on an expedition to America-Samoa, travelling through the many islands to change perceptions, and create awareness of, MS.

“Six years ago I thought life was done and out. But SWD has revolutionised everything, it’s been a real life changer” said Greg.

Greg is on Twitter at:


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