Mike Rawbone, a hugely important figure in Para sailing and a pioneer of the sport in Hong Kong, passed away on 3 August.
Along with his wife Kay, Mike founded Sailability Hong Kong in 2009, a charity which aims to enrich the lives of people with disabilities through sailing. Thousands of people with a range of disabilities – deaf, blind, spinal injuries, brain injuries, muscular dystrophy and intellectual impairment groups – benefitted from participating in Sailability Hong Kong, and the positive impact both Mike and Kay had on Para sailing in the country cannot be underestimated.
Mike and Kay were also extremely active in promoting and supporting Para sailing in Asia on a whole, organising a Para Sailing Development Programme in 2017 as well as other world events, and helping neighbouring countries to compete at the Para Sailing World Championships by providing equipment and logistical support to sailors.
Most recently, Mike attended the 2019 Para World Sailing Championships in Puerto Sherry as Chef de Mission, helping and supporting the Hong Kong and Macau delegation.
Both Mike and Kay were pivotal in increasing participation in and raising awareness of Para sailing. Mike was passionate and hard-working, never allowing any obstacles to get in his way of sharing his love of the sport, and was a real people person; always a pleasure to be around.
Mike will be sorely missed, but his legacy will live on in the people who benefitted from his passion for sailing and his determination to make it accessible to everyone.
World Sailing extends its condolences and sympathy to Mike’s family and friends.