Meet the Trustees!
Murray is the founding member of the Autism on the Water team. Diagnosed with autism at the age of 7, Murray has faced many challenges throughout his life but has found his true passion through the sport of sailing which has benefitted him and his autism. He set up Autism on the Water nearly 4 years ago through Facebook with no plan or thoughts for its future and it is now widely recognised both locally and internationally as far as Hong Kong and Australia!
Murray is the skipper of the charity's Hunter 707 yacht. He remains committed to continuing to spread awareness of autism through sailing and help encourage autistic people to access sailing.
Martin is Murray's brother. Also a very keen sailor as well as a competitive rugby player being the current captain of Hove Rugby Team, Martin instantly signed up to be a trustee of the charity not just to support his brother through the running of the charity but also to bring new ideas on how to further grow the charity.
Martin is currently the Senior Claims Adjuster at MS AMLIN YACHTS based in London and so brings to the charity a wealth of business and insurance background. He is our main adviser for when the charity is working out appropriate insurance for our events.
Helen is the mother of two young children with autism. She joined the AOTW team in 2019 after attending our Crinan Canal trips.
Like many parents, Helen has had her challenges through raising autistic children but has helped them become more confident and independent in their lives - her son's participation in the first Crinan Canal trip was a real confidence booster.
Helen assists us with our Crinan Canal trips in obtaining more participants in the local area and also helping logistically with accessing safety equipment and helping prepare risk assessments.
Neil has been a supporter of Autism on the Water since its inception. A personal friend of Murray, Neil signed up as a trustee almost as soon as he was asked too! He is passionate about the charity and keen to see further development for autistic people through sailing and see more awareness.
Neil owns and run his own Hockey Coaching Business and is passionate about helping young people develop and achieve goals. He assists the charity again with the preparation of risk assessments for events and advising on financial paperwork etc.
Hannah is a Paralympian sailor. Born with her lower left arm missing, Hannah is a true inspiration in the world of Parasailing. She has competed in multiple Olympic and Paraolympian campaigns as well as a number of Offshore race campaigns including the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race.
Hannah joined the AOTW team in 2019. It is a joy for the charity to have Hannah on board for she is also a trustee for other charities within the sailing and so brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and advice. She assists AOTW with advice on our racing campaign and how to best word out proposals to sponsors and other organisations.
Meet the Race Team!
My name is Murray MacDonald, I am 28 years old and on the autistic spectrum. I am the founding trustee of Autism on the Water which I set up myself nearly 4 years ago. Originally intended as a campaign to attend an international sailing event and last no longer than a year - well nearly 4 years down the line we are perhaps the most recognised charity for awareness of autism through sailing in the UK!
As skipper of the charity's Hunter 707 yacht, I am very much looking forward to leading our new team in 2021 through both racing and activities for people with autism and showing them how this sport can help with Confidence, Problem Solving and Social Skills - three skills that are the three biggest challenges for people on the autistic spectrum.
My goal is to get more awareness of autism throughout the UK sailing circuit not just within Scotland but also in Ireland, England and Wales through taking part in some of the countries top regattas. I also hope to include others on the autistic spectrum through our journey and encourage them to access sailing
My name is Claire Watson, I am 20 years old and am currently going into my final year as a student physical education teacher at the University of Edinburgh. I learnt to sail at Cove Sailing Club looking out onto Loch Long and the River Clyde.
As a 7-year-old cadet, I began sailing in Topaz, Optimist and Feva dinghies. As I developed my ability I moved on to learning in the one-design Loch Long class, a Sonata and a Sigma 33 and this year joined the British Keelboat Academy.
My aim is to keep pushing myself and develop my knowledge in bigger events and hopefully try some more Match Racing in the coming seasons.
I learned about Autism on the Water at the Boat Show held at Kip Marina. Having a family member on the autistic spectrum and also going into teaching made me realise that it is really important to upskill my knowledge of Autism and also how to help and support those on the spectrum. So I look forward to what I have to learn from Murray and the charity.
I guess a fun fact about me could be that I have a license to drive public ferries in the state of New York, USA. Well up to 26ft long but I am going to include it anyway.
My name's Matilda, but everyone knows me as Tilly. I'm 22 years old and began sailing at the age of 12 in a Topper at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club (in south Wales). I then progressed onto a double-handed trapeze boat called a 420 as crew, where I trained and competed in Welsh and GBR squads for several years.
Recently, I started sailing keelboats where I was part of the Keelboat Academy 2020. I've been teaching sailing and coaching for several years, so I'm hoping this will be a good skill to bring to the team, to ensure we maximise our time on the water with structured training plans!
I learnt about AOTW through some of the team members (Claire and Ellie) whom I met through the keelboat academy. I'm very excited to be part of the team as not only are we sailing, but we are sailing with a purpose! Our goal is to raise awareness for autism and to aid publicize the charity by competing in events across the whole of the UK. I'm looking forward to meeting the team in person and not over a computer screen!!!
Hi, my name is Ellie Clark, I am 18 years old and am about to go to university to study sport and exercise science. I've been sailing and around boats for as long as I can remember! I learnt to sail in a National 12 and Mirror dinghy with my dad telling me what to do! I then learnt to sail single-handed in an RS Tera and sailed this through the North Squad and then moved to double-handed dinghy sailing in an RS Feva.
I completed two years of RYA Zone Squad and then did a year of the class squad, the last year in the Feva was spent sailing with my
best friend Holly Monk.
As I got too old for the Feva I then progressed onto the 420 where I was lucky enough to compete in the 2018 World Championships as part of Team GB; I sailed the 420 for a number of years.
More recently I began sailing keelboats as a member of the British Keelboat Academy, which has allowed me to develop more skills. I have been a coach and instructor since I was 16 and hope some of this experience will be used whilst sailing with the AOTW team.
I learnt about AOTW through Claire another BKA member, I'm so happy to be part of this team as not only does it allow for us to sail and continue to develop but also allows us to raise awareness for autism in sailing.
Meet the Media Guru!
I'm Georgie. I recently graduated from a degree in Film making and do various pieces of work including for BBC the Social and Highland Fling Bungee. I've always loved being active and outdoors and when I was fifteen I sailed the Baltic Sea on a tall ship which sparked my love of sailing and water sports in general.
Outside of sailing, I'm a scuba diver, swimmer and a few years ago I hiked the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile trail across Spain.
I discovered Autism on the Water completely by accident and I'm very glad that I did as everyone on the team has been so kind and welcoming.
You'll be able to recognise me at events as the one hiding behind the camera!