RYA Sailability welcomes Blind Sailing and its fellow clubs back to the Sailabilty Keelboat League.
Blind Sailing has fallen in love with this format of racing, for those that have not heard of Keelboat League Racing then go no further than to look up RYA Keelboat League and get your club involved. It’s fast, it keeps you engaged with races of up to 12 minuets long and you are on your toes for the moment go no hanging around and if you have a bad start or a bad race you quickly forget and on to the next race. Blind Sailing love the format so much our Nationals is now run this way.
After what seems a long time well nearly two we were back our racing with other clubs and back with our supports the RYA. Weymouth is a trek for all but once you are there you are caught up in the legacy left behind from the Olympics and we were so grateful to be put up in RYA House so everything was a short walk away.
This event was for all those that had really worked hard in the last two years and also a chance for some of our sailors we had met online and got out for a sail to step into the racing seat with both feet.
The four teams arrived on Wednesday at Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy and had the afternoon looking through Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions for some this was the first time to see how the rules worked and for some of our other sailors seeing the difference from club racing where it is relaxed to being at an event were time and rules mattered.
We were also very lucky to get the afternoon to be able to familiarise ourselves with the Elliott’s, something that is key for all VI’s getting that chance to feel were everything is before the picture starts moving, working on tacking knowing where to place your feet how far away the other deck is are all key to starting racing the next day.
Wednesday, evening was a chance to say hello to the other four teams from all around the UK, Limb Power, Oceans of Hope, Invictus Games and a true mix of a team Sailaibility being skippered by James Wheeldon who is also part of the Blind Sailing team. All these teams have truly inspiring stories, and it is great we get to share the water with them and be inspired.
Lock down had been hard for all so all were looking forward to the next morning and starting racing, under the watchful eye of race officer Jack Fenwick and his team.
The wind was light but after a short wait the wind was just enough to start racing, Lucy Commodore of Blind sailing said “it was like we had been released, seeing some of the people we had met online out on the water was like a dream, online had been great but to see them now sailing was magical”
For our new sailors the buzz had started with the short races no time to think it was back into the next race or a quick trip to the comfort boat and then back out. The racing was close seeing every team improve and, in the mix, but with this racing it’s not about winning its about being consistent with your results to ensure your average score.
All team came off the water full of excitement and true to say a little worn out, but it was a quick shower and back to WPNSA for another great evening and getting a chance to catch up with our new sailors. It was great to hear their excitement and that the online training was clicking in even though they felt like they were treading water at the deep end, there sighted volunteers, were constantly communicating and keeping them informed, a learning curve they were enjoying climbing.
Friday came quick and one more day of racing and all to play for, with a good breeze but set to dropped later in the day. The race team were great in getting us out and racing. From watching from outside you could tell it was the last day with protest flags being waved and turns taken, boats pushing it on the line and getting called back, but most of all, all teams learning and showing what they had learnt about the boats and the other teams to make the racing close. Blind Sailing has true admiration for all the other teams, as no adaptions were made just for some a rope to help them cross was all that was put in place but looking at the racing you would not know.
Racing closed after 12 great races and we want to say a massive congratulations to all teams. But first place was awarded to Adam Parry, Fran Neale, Judith Spencer and Elina Piras. So much thanks go to Joff and his team for making this event a great safe event and for Jack for being a great race officer. We also thank all our volunteers for giving up there time and making the racing for all.
Full results can bere http://events.ksail.co.uk/2021/SailabilityKeelboatLeague/DisplayResultsSummary.html
Our thanks go to our sponsors Rooster, RYA Sailability, RYA and WPNSA and RYA House.