BE INSPIRERD BY WHAT OUR SAILORS SAY!
I am a mother of a beautiful girl a carer and a businesswoman as well as a successful sailor. Sailing regularly helps me recharge my human battery, so I have a bigger pot of energy to support my life as possible. There are frustrating times, but the therapy of sailing brings me a calm and rational mind.
Through the training that Blind Sailing offers, I am proud to say I have had the privilege to represent my country and make so many lifelong friends. Winning medals at World Sailing Championships proves that if you put the effort and commitment in, anything is possible.
I have channelled this attitude towards my self-goals into setting up my own successful complementary therapy business. If I am a sailor at world champion level, I can also be a therapist of a high standard. Having a physical job, also feeds back into my sailing career, as it improves fitness.
The immense togetherness I experience when I am with the sailing team is a natural high of life. They are all inspirational people and sailors and it is a privilege to be hanging out with them. The GB sailing team has such good communication on their boats, that it sometimes highlights the lack of good communication on land in our own lives. After coming home from training with the team, I find myself wanting people to repeat back to me what I’ve said, so I know that they have heard and understand. Of course, this is an unfair ask and is unnecessary in reality, but it proves how vital and how much we have to rely on it when we are medal-worthy racing boats.
Representing your country, in a sport you love is an honour & a privilege, come and try it. So many skills you can learn that can help you too may be set up a business or maybe just gaining confidence.
I never enjoyed any sport as a youngster.
I tried sailing on a very small lake in the midlands long before losing my sight.
After my sight loss, I had the need to test myself. I first took to kite buggy racing and enjoyed harnessing the power of the wind.
Quite by chance, I was invited to a Blind sailing taster weekend in Windermere. This lit the touch paper and this was the push I needed. Blind sailing has been my savior through some very dark periods in my life. First cancer and then divorce. It brings us all together and harnesses the underlying resilience we all have but can’t always harness alone.
My family and friends see a difference in me when I am around the team. It’s like I've found where I can fit and make a difference. My family all support, both me and the team. My brother, sister, and nephew all contribute and volunteer where possible.
A TEAM of very varied individuals who gel together!
I’m Eddie kitchen a totally blind and 50% deaf sailor. I work full time for Capita on the O2 account. I am a technical customer service adviser. I answer emails and configure connections, dealing with customer faults and complaints, but my love is the water and being free on the high seas.
I’ve been sailing since I was 13, starting on dinghy’s and working up to tall ships. I have sailed over 20,000 sea miles, so many stories to tell and experiences but in sailing each time you hit the water it is different due to the elements the boats you sail and the crew you are with. As you can see my blindness and deafness has not stopped me it has driven me, the feel of the boat in the water and the wind on my face gives me the tools I need to crew any boat.
I am proud to have been part of the 2018 GBR Blind Sailing Team, racing in Scotland at the World Blind Match Racing Championships, and proud to say as a team we won a silver medal, in this element of blind sailing it is all done by sound no sighted, our coaches provide information right up to the first warning signal then leave the boat and it is up to us as a team to sail the boat fast around the course, it is a great feeling to be on the boat with your team with your sighted volunteers looking on, but also a great feeling when they step back on board and describe the race. I have been heard to say our volunteers are like my guide dog but communicate a bit better!
Sailing gives me an enormous sense of freedom, to quote one of my close friends Julie Crapnell “Eddie isn’t like a blind person when he’s on a boat”.
What I take away into my life away from sailing is the team building and ability to work as a team player, the ability to take on a specific role, and to adapt and learn from everyone.
I think it’s also helped me to problem solve and this helped me a lot in my job! Come and join us.
When I was a child, I enjoyed trying different activities, one of these was sailing but I didn’t find my passion for this sport until more recently.
I live with my partner who is also visually impaired, he doesn’t take part in any sporting activities but is happy that I enjoy the challenges and thrills sailing gives me. I used to play Goalball but have noticed my determination to get fitter and train harder has largely increased since joining Blind Sailing, through the encouragement I am given by the team and my own passion for the sport.
Although I haven’t been training with the team for years, I have noticed that the confidence the training installs in you has impacted on my work and home life. For example, I never stayed in bed and breakfasts by myself before but I am gradually gaining the confidence to do this. I work for a blind society and in the past, I would have avoided talking and delivering sight loss awareness training to large groups of people and aloud colleagues to take the lead, but now I am confident to take the lead.
I have been training with Blind Sailing for a little over a year and have learned that communication is so important especially as everyone has varying levels of sight loss, you have to verbalize everything.
The freedom of being part of a team that harnesses the power of the wind to make the boat move is second to none. When I am on the water, I am Kate the sailor and on land, I am judged before I do anything because I am blind. The training enables me to focus on the here and now and is a chance to clear my head. It also allows me to throw off the shackles of feeling I have to apologize to society for being visually impaired.
Looking forward I would love to be part of a world championship team in the future, this is something I didn’t realize was possible until I embarked on this amazing life-changing voyage.
I was given my first sailing opportunity with Blind Sailing in my last year at Worcester College for the Blind. Blind Sailing raised funds to enable 16 under 25 years of age to get a feel for racing. Since that weekend I have continued to train and race with Blind Sailing. The charity has helped me in so many ways and when I started Uni it helped build my confidence to deal with this new chapter which made this step a smaller step to take. This confidence and the skills I have gained through sailing have helped me start up my own company after leaving uni. Sailing has opened so many doors I am so grateful.
I was part of a Paralympic Sailing Team and got to travel the world representing my country, I have also gained four World titles with Blind Sailing and now love teaching fellow members showing them how from my view as a visually impaired sailor.