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BSI Newsletter August 2018

Chairman’s Message

Welcome, BSI supporters and sailors:

Wind and tide is ever changing, as are the activities of Blind Sailing International.

We are reaching out to new sailors, visually-impaired sailing programmes and other opportunities.

We are progressing and improving our media and communication links through twitter, Facebook and the ongoing development of our new web site.

And we are Working hard alongside our friends at The Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club, ensuring that next week’s Blind Match Racing clinic and World Championships are a great success.

We are also Working with the Para World Sailing Committee (PWSC) to secure hosts for 2019 and beyond.

BSI welcomes your feedback, suggestions and offers of support – you need not wait to be asked. Please get in touch with us with your ideas. If you think there is an organisation or person – yourself included – who might be interested in hosting a future event, please contact us for a chat.

Fair winds and good sailing to all,
Vicki Sheen
Blind Sailing International

<image> Vicki Sheen and Guide Dog Zeke

Blind Match Racing Update from the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club, Rhu, Scotland


Clinic with coach Liz Baylis 28-30 August 2018
Rest Day 31 August 2018
Registration & Practice 1-2 September 2018
Racing 3-7 September 2018

Welcome Blind Sailors, Supporters, Officals, Spectators and Interested Parties

It’s been 12 months since the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club kicked off the process of bidding to host the Blind Match Racing Worlds. The Event Organising Committee at RNCYC is in the final stages of preparation and continues to work hard to ensure all the necessary arrangements are in place for an enjoyable fortnight, on and off the water. It’s hard to believe the event is almost upon us.

Five teams from four countries – Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the United States – will challenge for the 2018 Blind Match Racing World Championship. We’re really pleased with the strength of entrants, and with lots of talent and experience on show it’s shaping up to be a very competitive and exciting week of racing at Rhu.

The full line-up for the 2018 Blind Match Racing World Championship is:

Team Skipper
AUS Kylie Forth
CAN David Brown
GBR1 Sharon Grennan
GBR2 Sally Rodrigues
USA Walter T. Raineri

We’re excited to start welcoming Competitors, Judges, Umpires and Classifiers as they start to travel to Scotland.

We’re looking forward to things kicking off next week with the pre-race Clinic, where teams can hone their skills, develop their teamwork and communications and generally get the feel of the RNCYC Sonars – ideal prep to ensure that everyone gets the most out of the Championship week.

We’re also really pleased that we have secured confirmation from a number of broadcast and print media outlets, including BBC, to cover the event which will help to profile our sport and hopefully inspire more blind and visually-impaired sailors out on the water.

For all the news and updates from the event follow

RNCYC Blind Match Racing World Championship:

Look forward to welcoming you to Scotland!

Andrew Watson & Craig Macdonald
On behalf of the RNCYC


sailing 1

[images] race_logo club_burgee two_sonars_under_sail_crossing_opposite tacks

BSI Annual General Meeting (AGM) Notice

Blind Sailing International (BSI) will host its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, 4th September 2018 at 17:00hrs Helensburgh, Scotland. The venue is the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club, The Clubhouse, Rhu, Helensburgh G84 8NG UK.

Supporting documents will be posted on the BSI web site prior to the meeting.
If you wish to participate via SKYPE, notify by 1200hrs 2nd September. Email: .

BSI Dues Notice

Annual dues from national and state (US) blind sailing organizations for BSI membership are $50US per year. Dues invoices will be emailed to each group in early September. Payment can be made via PayPal. BSI dues support improvements to the BSI Web site, fees paid to other sailing organizations (e.g. World Sailing).

Ryck Lent
BSI Treasurer

Blind Sailing Team Updates

Great Britain
New Zealand
San Francisco

Australia, from Kylie Forth, skipper of AUS BSMRWC

Australian blind sailors have been taking advantage of our mild winters to get in as much practice as possible for the upcoming Worlds. However the change to a mixed sight team has posed quite a few difficulties because there were no B2 or B3 sailors able to make the trip to Scotland.

Kylie Forth and Erin McGlew (both B1s) have therefore reached out to Canada and are delighted to welcome Jodi Munden (B2) to the team. It is certainly a different training campaign this year, with one team member 12 hours behind and on the other side of the world. After many phone calls Kylie and Jodi can now convert to each other’s time zones in their sleep. They are all looking forward to sailing together and intend to use the pre-regatta match-race clinic for some last minute training.

Earlier this year Ryan Honschooten (B1) joined the English accessible tall ship Tenacious for an 88-day sailing adventure from Auckland to Cape Town, rounding Cape Horn and visiting South Georgia on the way. The ship has an audible compass so Ryan was able to take his turn at the helm without any sighted assistance. His stories about the voyage have been making us all jealous! Ryan was recommended as watch leader after his voyage and is just waiting for the opportunity to join the ship again.

Ryan has been working closely with Western Australia’s own tall ship Leeuwin to allow a group of 10 young people with vision impairments to join a regular voyage in November. This is a huge step for the ship because in the past it only allowed such groups to sail on disability-specific voyages. Ryan will be going along to offer some support for the group, but he intends to take a step back as soon as they have found their feet.

There are several school leavers in Western Australia with vision impairments who are eager to start sailing competitively. They were only prevented from attending this year’s championships by the timing of their final year exams. We are excited that there are new sailors about to join the ranks, especially as they are B2s and B3s, and are hoping to form several teams for next year’s championships.

We were delighted to discover a B1 sailor in Tasmania. Edward has been learning to sail Hansa 303s in the Bass Strait, the rather tumultuous piece of ocean between Tasmania and the mainland. Most of the other members of his Sailability club prefer to stay in the calmer waters of the river, but Edward says there is less to bump in to out in the ocean. He has been actively involved in a documentary series promoting Sailability Tasmania, and we are looking forward to seeing the final product.

We are working at creating relationships with yacht clubs and mainstream sailors in Melbourne because we have had quite a lot of interest from people with vision impairments in Melbourne who would like to learn to sail. We are excited that we may be finally extending blind sailing from Perth into another city. There is a lot of opportunity for growth, and we are looking forward to making the most of our upcoming summer sailing season.

Canada, from David Brown

David Brown and Brian Arthur, 2016 Sheboygan Match Racing World Championship silver medal winners from Canada are pleased to introduce Josh Cook to the Canadian team. They will be competing in Scotland at the BSMRWC.

Josh is a young and enthusiastic sailor who has come up through the Canadian youth sailing programme. This will be Joshes’ first time competing in an international regatta and racing not on his home waters.

Canada is hoping to host the 2019 Fleet Racing World Championships.

As Kylie Forth mentioned above, Canadian B2 sailor Jody Munden will be competing in Scotland as part of the Austrailian team. She will be attending her second world championship after competing in last year’s Fleet Racing World Championship, winning a Bronze medal.

Great Britain, from Lucy Hodges

GBR Blind Sailing:
With the weather hitting the high 20’s and some days at 30c it has for the past few months been like training abroad, but of course this can bring lots of light wind days.

But I am pleased to say in the UK we have been enjoying our sailing weekends, here in the UK we are keen to bring in new sailors and pleased to see two beginners starting this month out on the water again having a little look at what racing is like. Both sailors receiving a great grounding from Ian Shirra and Ark Sailing. Along side this we have kept up our selection for the Blind Match Racing Worlds and pleased to announce two teams will be attending the Worlds.

Team GBR-A will be skippered by Sharon Grennan along side her crew Liam Cattermole and Lucy Hodges, who are current World Blind Match Racing World Champions from 2016.

Team GBR-B will be skippered by Sally Rodrigues along side her crew Eddie Kitchen and Laura Cammidge. For Sally and Eddie, it will be their first time at a Blind Match Racing World Championships but both have been training hard making the switch from fleet racing. For Laura this regatta will be on home water and her home club — something I know all are proud of.

In the UK we have been privileged to have the support of Ian William, the team have been drilled in all aspects and it is great to have a coaching team that, in some ways, forgets we have a visual impairment and just look at us as sailors, which we are.

The teams are also truly thankful to their sponsors Sunseeker and MOFO. This has made a difference to training and attending the Worlds.

Great Britain will look forward to welcoming all teams to the Worlds.

Japan, from Takanori Kosaka

“Set sail for Tahiti”

Six sailors of Japan Blind Sailing Association (JBSA), including 4 sighted, set sail from Tokyo, Japan to Tahiti on June 17th, Sunday. The vessel name is Bacchus. They are going to stop by Hawaii on the way to get some fresh supplies of food and water.

On August 7th, Tuesday, we received a phone call from the sailors and were informed that they called at Ala Wai Yacht Harbor on the island of O’ahu. Their voyage will be written and sent to our colleagues after they have finished their great journey to Tahiti.



New Zealand, from Ben Geddes

Hello World:

It been a busy year for us here in New Zealand and we are planning some great events over the next few months, looking forward to summer and the opportunities that will arise.

New Zealand Blind Sailing has continued to offer opportunities to have a go at sailing in Sonars from the sailability yard. Recently we were pleased to have a large group of blind and low vision individuals come sailing. There were two sailings with both yachts fully loaded each time. The Have-A-Go Day participants took turns at helming, trimming and hiking. It was great to see the natural talent in the group and the growing interest as the sailing ensued. Everyone left buzzing after the enjoyable 7 knot breeze.

During our most recent Have-A-Go Day there were a number of new and old volunteers assisting with activities on and off the water, We are thankful for the long term dedication of those who have coached, aided, organised and crewed for us locally and abroad. Wec are excited to know we now have some keen new volunteers who will no doubt take as much out of the experience as we individuals in the club.

Next event will be held in September, the conditions should be fairly good and perfect for entry level sailing.
sailing 2

<image> Blind/vi sailors in New Zealand sailing on “Have-A-Go” Day.
US – Boston

Boston’s blind sailors have organized themselves into a new group, Boston United Blind Sailing (BUBS), after SailBlind was disbanded due to budget cutbacks at its sponsoring organization, the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton. BUBS is self-managed, and partners with the Association of Blind Citizens (ABC), which supports outdoor activities for the visually-impaired.

BUBS is growing. This season (June – October) there are 11 blind/vi participants, six or more sighted guides, and a contingent of students from Olin College of Engineering in Wellesley, who have been working with blind sailors to develop innovative navigational and tactical devices for blind sailing. Long-time blind sailing supporter and sighted guide, Bill Rapp, is the liason with Olin.

BUBS has both a fleet racing and a match racing program on different days, based in part on the capabilites of two community sailing organizations in Boston. Fleet racing in Rhodes 19s takes place at Courageous Sailing on Boston Harbor, with 3-5 boats practicing on Tuesdays. Match racing is handled by Community Boating’s Sonars on the Charles River Basin between the cities of Boston and Cambridge, with 2-3 boats practicing on Thursdays. The match racing program includes both competitions and tactical simulations to introduce vi sailors unfamiliar to match racing.

There are no Boston teams heading to Scotland for the Blind Match Racing Worlds this year, nor is there a US Nationals this year. BUBS is now planning for the 3rd Boston Open Regatta (fleet racing) in October at Community Boating on the Charles River.

A lighter moment during this season: while a match racing boat was maneuvering upwind towards the mark, the chase boat noticed the upwind buoy had lost its sound signal. While working to restore the mark’s noisemaker, the quick-thinking chase boat volunteer began imitating the sound so the racers could find and round the mark. All agreed that Dana, the chase boat driver, was an excellent substitute for the electronic signal.

US – San Francisco, from Walt Rainere

BMR USA Team BAADS will be representing the United States of America in the 2018 Blind Match Racing World Championships in Rhu, Scotland, United Kingdom, at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club.

The team will be representing the USA on many levels. Geographically, we hail from all corners of the USA with sighted coach Stacie Straw hailing from Newport Beach, in Southern California USA, B1 main trimmer BJ Blahnik hailing from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA, B3 jib trimmer Brian Peoples hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and B1 Skipper, helmsman and reigning Bronze Medalist from the 2016 BMR World Championships Walt Raineri hailing from San Francisco, in Northern California, USA.

Stacie joins the team fresh off her dual duties as tactician for both a B1 USA Boat and B3 USA boat at the 2017 Blind Fleet Racing World Championships. Her double duty with hot seating both morning and afternoon race sessions in 2017 will go down as one of the most generous contributions to blind sailing in a while by sighted sailors.

BJ continues his amazing support of blind sailing and was heralded as almost single-handedly resurrecting the 2017 Blind Fleet Racing World Championships from the ashes of a Houston yacht Club last minute rejection as the host, to organizing one of the most memorable Blind Fleet Racing World Championship events in recent history.

He took on the role of the regatta chair for the 2017 World Championship event and with only a couple of months to prepare, he guided it to the Olympic caliper fleet of Sonar boats owned by Sail Sheboygan and managed by Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan (SEAS). He generated financial support for the 2017 event and even made sure that everyone had a good, old fashioned double Braut on a Sheboygan Hard Roll, if they wanted one.

BJ also was the principal organizer of VISION (Visually Impaired Sailors Institute and Organization in North America), a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to promoting the educational benefits of blind sailing for those with visual impairments.

Brian, a newcomer to blind sailing, represents the next wave of visually impaired sailors in the USA and his enthusiasm for the sport is infectious. He participated in two of the largest adaptive sailing regattas in 2018 (the Robie Pierce Regatta in New York, USA, and the Independence Cup Regatta in Chicago, USA).

Walt has been keeping busy as the Blind Sailing Program Director at BAADS (Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors), in San Francisco California, USA, running fleet and match racing clinics for new and experienced visually impaired sailors in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world. With a relatively inexperienced crew, as compared to the veteran crews of the other competitors in the 2018 BMR event in Scotland, he hopes to demonstrate a pathway for others in the sport of blind sailing by supporting the World Championship level regattas even if a crew does not have much experience.

BSI Survey Results – 2018

Survey participants ranked questions by importance on a 0-3 score, 3 being most important.
Scores were totaled to give a rough measure of relative importance across the 26 questions.

Question Final Score   Question Final Score
1. Having a standardised fleet; boat and sails. 22.50 6. Accessible boat able to adapt for sailors with a physical disability. 12.00
7. The cost of the entry fee. 20.00 21. Rotating racing fleets   with a shorter race day for each class. 12.00
11. Availability of low budget accommodation. 19.00 24. Avoid venues with strong currents. 12.00
19. More rather than fewer race days. 19.00 12. Teams offered accommodation in one venue. 11.50
2. Age and condition of sails. 18.00 8. Sailing venue, Car journey one hour or less from international airports. 10.00
25. Moving the event to different venues, countries or continents. 18.00 17. Breakfast provided at sailing venue. 10.00
4. Room within the cockpit space of the boat. 17.00 15. Event dates to avoid start of Spring term. 9.00
9. Local access to public transport 17.00 23. Avoid seasons with predicted continuous high winds 14 to 20 knots. 9.00
10. Accommodation available within walking distance of sailing venue. 16.00 13. Wheelchair accessible pontoons. 8.00
20. A full race day on the water. 16.00 14. Wheelchair accessible onshore sailing facilities. 8.00
22. Avoid seasons with predicted continuous light winds 6 knots and less. 16.00 26. Please add here, rating their importance, any statements or aspects not covered in the list above. 0.00
3. The Boat style; Day racer rather than small cruzer. 15.50 Event location: smaller town/city rather than large major cities 3.00
5. Space for tactician alongside helm and crew, within the cockpit. 15.00 Having more than five countries present 3.00
18. Arranged social events additional to Opening and Closing ceremonies. 14.50 Having more than five boats in each division 3.00
16. Mid-day pack lunches provided. 14.00 Professional Race Committee with experience hosting national and international regattas 3.00



Vicki Sheen Chairman, Blind Sailing International (BSI)


Skype: vickisheen (Brixham)

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