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Weekend Three of Lockdown Face to Face with Ben Hazeldine

New club to Blind Sailing one of four we are visiting this year Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham On Crouch, yes Lucy too Blind Sailing back into Essex!

With Harriet and Andrew (Noddy) both hands on members to the club it was a great chance to get out on the J707 and bring as we said Blind Sailing to another club and open doors. Ben was back at the helm or the right words coaching the team. During lockdown Ben gave support and some amazing insight into his carrier in sailing the ups and downs, but mainly the opportunity that blind sailing had given him in his personal sailing that had lead to his own development in racing. Ben spoke about teamwork and communication which is key not just for blind sailors but for sighted too.

J707 down wind.

Friday was great night, finding our way around Burnham and getting some great fish and chips in a very traditional pub. We had four new sailors to welcome this weekend one brand new to sailing and two young teenage girls keen to take their holiday sailing to another level. Blind Sailing has met so many new sailors over lockdown it has been great.

Saturday, was started with a great breakfast thanks for RCYC and set the scene for the day with a great steady breeze, sun shinning slightly. We also welcomed two new volunteers from RCYC Nick and Nigel and well as our rib volunteers from the club, which make the weekends safe. Each club we reach out to we hope to take 2-3 volunteers out on the water with us, to help gown the understanding of blind sailing and how it works, to enable more sailors out on the water where they live.

Ben set the scene, our weekend was based on communication and teamwork moving together as well as getting to grips with the J707. A course was set, and all four boats were off, each boat focusing at a different level and building their skills throughout the day. Blind Sailing is so lucky to have experienced sailors and coaches on the oats as well as one overseeing and leading the weekend, running the weekends in this way allows the kep learning to happen in the boats and onshore. It was fair to say that Ben felt Lucy was too relaxed and tried to put a stop to it but getting her boat to do a gut buster for 40 mins to an hour. But Nick and John were puffing as some would say all Lucy had to do is sit and push and pull the stick at the back.

A long day but smiles and lots of talking filled the yacht club our new sailors had found the feel and love for sailing, and it was so great to hear. We are truly thankful to the catering staff and all the staff at RCYC for how they looked after us with breakfast and dinner and a great relaxed place to chat.

John at the helm of J707 all smiles

When we went round the group for keep learning points of the day it was great as everyone had a takeaway point they wanted to put into the next day, being it has the confidence to close the loop on communication or to helm and not worry if it was not quite right yet.

Sunday brought a bit less breeze but still a great day, a few tired sailors not because of the night but because they worked so hard on Saturday. But, it was back out with a great course laid by Ben trying to stay close and catch each other, using communication through each manaover and body weight so you were using the rudder less and less and the team got together.

Sunday ended at 15:00 with a chance to review before heading home. It was great to hear from our volunteers from the Club, Harriet, Noddy, Nick and Nigel and how grateful they were to have the chance for the coaching and working with such a great team. One of them said you can rely too much on your sight, the tell tails and it is great to see in action and be reminded that feel can be a big part in making a boat go fast.

We owe so much thanks for our volunteers and all to team at Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.

Great weekend and if you want to hear it from the sailors click on the link below,


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