Role Model- Ellen Barbour

Role Model- Ellen Barbour

Ellen Barbour


East Antrim Boat Club and County Antrim Yacht Club

Ellen Barbour is an avid sailor who finds joy in losing herself on the water, solely focusing on controlling the boat and letting the outside world fade away. Sailing keeps her both mentally and physically fit, and she chases that feeling of freedom of the water whenever she can. Her competitive spirit drove her to pursue sailing after seeing her dad’s trophies, and she wanted to earn her own spot on the shelf.

Ellen has sailed various boats, from Optimists to toppers, and has some notable achievements in her sailing career. She has won in the Topper 4.2 and Topper 5.2, and she has also competed in the ILCA 6s, a single-handed boat. Nowadays, she is working on her fitness by sailing 49er fx. She finished 2nd in the Irish Nationals and 3rd in the British Youth Championships in 2021, and she qualified for the World Championships last year.

Although her sailing journey has not been linear due to injuries, Ellen decided to pursue sailing full-time this year. Ellen said, “I’m recovering from an injury, so I am just focusing on building up my fitness again, so at the minute I’m trying not to set goals that are out of reach.” Having spent time off water during lockdown Ellen has figured out ways to say positive even when things don’t go to plan. She has invested in being a coach as well or even sailing on bigger boats that allow her to get back on the water without exacerbating her injury.

Ellen’s dad is her biggest supporter, although they may not always sail together due to their competitive nature. He serves as her sounding board, helping her not make rash decisions in moments of frustration. Over lockdown, they made a hiking bench to stay in shape. He went the extra mile and sprayed her with a hose to simulate the feeling of wind and sea breeze during the time she worked out at home. Ellen values having a support system during tough times, such as when she is injured or frustrated.

Ellen’s advice to those new to the sport is to enjoy the activity, make friends, and use it as a stress reliever. “If the competition side of the sport comes then that is a bonus!” She is a fantastic role model because her success in the sport has not been easy, and she has faced many challenges, such as injuries. However, she has not given up and sets goals to get back to a healthy state and compete. At the end of the day, Ellen loves sailing because it has brought her closer to her family and provided her with a focus in life.

Thank you, Ellen, for being an outstanding role model!