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Technique Tips

Sailing with a Replacement Knee

By Steve Cockerill 22nd February 2022
A good few years ago, I was cycling to work when a car overtook me and then turned left along side me. I flew over the car and hit the Tarmac and destroyed my right knee.

To cut a long story short I could not walk without crutches so sailing was a no no. At the time we had an RS 200 so it was put to bed in the Garage. Janet, my wife and lifetime crew said we should sell the boat and take up fishing. That was like some one stabbing me in the heart! I know I am not Ben Ainsley but we enjoyed the sport and had done so for nearly thirty years. Perhaps at 63 I should have hung my boots up but hey -you only live once and this is not a practice run, this is it! Without a boat I feel like a fish with out water.

We had to wait our time and the day came when I was going in for a new right knee. After a long talk over several months with my consultant, he said I should be able to cycle and sail (may be not as much as I did before) and I would have to be careful at first he said take it a day at a time. I had the op' which had a few set backs but after a week I was going in the garage with Janet to set a trainer up with a old mountain bike. I opened the garage door to find a bright red and white Rooster Graduate dinghy sat in the garage! Janet said "Well, if you can't sail, I am going to with our grandson but I am hoping you will manage it".

So I set to and sat on the bike and at first I was like a kid could only do a half a turn with the peddle but this was about a week or so after the op'. The consultant ok'ed this and said to take care but you need to get the knee working- don't ride on the road for 6 weeks at least... So after about two weeks this got boring and as we live on a quiet cul-de-sack I started riding on the path... After all, I was not "on" the road! Anyway, one of the nabbers snitched on me! Janet rang the doctors to see what he thought and he laughter and said just tell Alan: Rome was not built in a day, and take care.

Anyway, few weeks later, we took the Grad up to the club and we put it on the water. I sat in it and thought I can do this - it was a nice day about a force 1 to 2 and we set of did a few laps, put a gibe in and we were fine. Knee working so I said that's it, we will do the Bart's Bash race next week and this was less than two months from the op'. The day came, we had only had about 4 hours in the boat and we loved it! We were 9th on the water at the club and I was so happy! Out of 23 Grads that took part over the world we came seventh!

At this point I would like to thank a host of people: Mr Sutton, my surgeon; Janet my wife and crew; my mother in law who looked after me and at the time despite her terminal cancer; also Steve from Rooster, Stewart from the Grad Association and Keith Bailey for lending me his Grad the day before my op' so I could have one last sail before (in case I would nether sail again)

It is possible to do most things when you have a complete knee or hip replacement you have to work through the pain and do what you are told to do and take care of things and such. Yes, I know the joint is glued in but hey, look at you car or boat or plane they are all glued together and they have to put up with a lot more than your knee does!

Regards Alan Knott
Grad 3011

Steve, I will send more photos of my knee this is my MOT certificate for my knee in case it failsIMG_0587

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