Friday the 7th to the 9th October saw 12 visual impaired sailors (VI's) and 9 sighted sailors take part in this years Blind Nations jointly organised with Cowes Corinthian Yatch Club.
This event is held each year to celebrate the charity's success and to start the next phase of training and for all VI's and sighted that is the build up to selection for the 2017 Blind Fleet Racing Championships as they look to build a stronger team to defend current World Champions title.
With registration complete all six boats took to the water in a light 7-8 knots of breeze, with thanks to the Island Sailing Club the sailors sail in two fleets of Sonars. B1 fleet were the helm has no vision or slight light perception with a main sheet or gib sheet trimmer that can be a B1 or B2 those that can count figures and see hand movements, and sail with two sighted sailors one doing tactics touching nothing and the other crew taking up the alternate role to the VI crew. With the B2 fleet for this event only comprising of a VI helm B2 to B3 those with more vision often tunnel or bleared and a B2/3 crew and a sighted tactician.
Friday was a day to get a feel for the conditions and the boat selected for each fleet as well as getting to know each other in the team that had been selected. The wind gradually dropped but with practice races it was clear to see it was going to be a weekend of close racing.
Friday evening saw CCYC host the Charity's years awards, a chance to thank the sighted sailors who this year have helped the charity with Blind Match Race Trainiing seeing the GBR take Gold and Silver in the Open Italian Match Racing a championships and also Gold in the World Blind Match Racing Championships.
This training could not have been the success it was with out the support of the Hall family and it was great to see Jonny Cormack hand over the Ian Cormack Cup to Steven Hall, who with his dad made and kept running all the sound buoy equipment. It was also great to receive kind donation from Claire and her boat Party, which helped along with Mofo helped fund this weekend.
After a great dinner the racing got under way with first warning signal at 10.25 all teams were ready to go with four to five races planned for the day. Breeze was light 6-8 knots from the North East but it was due to build. The course for all racing was a windward leeward, with Big Blue and the Race team headed up by Mike Dixon and David Ross all set to go. The B1 fleet got under way and it was clear to see this weekend was going to be close. In this fleet it was great to see Eddie Kitchen back on the water and at the helm, Eddie is one of Blind Sailing's deaf blind sailors, Lucy