HELENSBURGH’S Laura Carrick has narrowly missed out on a podium place at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Acting as unified partner to Shannon McGhee from Clydebank, the able2sail youth forum coordinator and trustee helped the pair finish fourth in division three of the sailing competition but can be proud of their achievement and will have undoubtedly taken much more from the experience than their final position.

In conditions drastically different to those at home on Castle Semple Loch, where they started their journey through charity able2sail, two members of the six-strong team received a bronze medal in the division two fleet - Jamie Cairns and unified partner Darren MacGregor, from Renfrewshire – while Lewis Nicolson and Mick Kelly finished fifth.

Fifteen countries competed in the discipline with around 50 sailors during the week-long event.

Following the closing ceremony on Thursday, Shannon said: “The highlight has been going out on the boat with many others.

“It is so different to where we sail with the colour of the water and it’s hot.”

Laura said: “Shannon has been a gazelle on the boat which has really given her so much confidence.

“It’s been touch and go at times due to the winds, with the adrenaline building to go racing and then it’s postponed.

“The young people have been absolutely amazing to hold their own out here. A lot of the teams have been to several international competitions so we have learnt lots.

“We have had Frances as a mascot and we have high-fived her every day when we go down to the boats. Frances is named after Shannon’s gran and wearing her gran’s scarf and it has been very comforting and great to have a team mascot.”

READ MORE: Helensburgh sailor sets sights on glory at Special Olympics World Games.

RYA Sailability coordinator and chief instructor David Hill was the competition and coaching advisor for the team.

He said: “It goes without saying I’m immensely proud of the team while we have been out here but also the journey to get here.

“They have shown great commitment to this for almost two years now and it showed during the competition with the guys holding their own against sailors with more experience of big events.

“We have had endless laughs along the way mainly at each other.

“Overall it was a great experience, very long days in the heat but well worth it.”

Laura added: “We have had an amazing reception here, it’s hard to get your head around, we have been to local schools and venues and it’s been incredible.

“I wasn’t expecting the level of people. It’s just such a big thing out here.

“David, along with the team at able2sail, has been amazing providing all the support over the past few years in the lead up, with all the background paperwork and meetings.

“Then out here David has then been the coach, advisor and the media which has meant so much and has allowed us to go sailing at such a great event for the young people.”