Blind Sailing International (BSI) July 2016 Bulletin
To all Blind Sailing competitors and supporters.
Throughout 2016 there has been Blind Sailing events and training, much focusing on preparation for the September Blind Match Racing World Championships.
2016 WS Blind Match Racing World Championships in Sheboygan, USA September 20-25, 2016
The 2016 WS Blind Match Racing World Championships to be held in September 20th (Tuesday) to the 25th (Sunday), 2016, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA. Sailors in all three vision classification categories — B1, B2 and B3 — will compete in one single class. The racing will use Sail Sheboygan’s 3-person Sonar class boats with the Homerus audible racing system. For more Information go to Sail Sheboygan
Sheboygan has an excellent worldwide reputation as a Match Racing venue. They ran the very successful Blind Match Racing World Championships in 2014. The September 2016 event will be particularly exciting as the Blind Match Racing World Championships will be hosted alongside the 2016 Women’s Match Racing World Championships.
The visually impaired and Women competitors will each have their own boats, courses, RC and umpire teams. Once on shore, all competitors and officials will be able to socialize together. Further details and the NOR can be found on http://www.sailsheboygan.org/2016-blind-match-racing/
Those Visually impaired competitors who have a current site classification registered on the IFDS register, your site classification will be valid for this event, and for the remainder of 2016 up to and including December.
2016 Revisions to Blind Sailing Race Management Manual
Just to remind you that, as of January 2016, there have been revisions to the Blind Sailing sections of the ISAF’s Race Management Manual. These include changes to the format for Blind Match Racing. The updated Race Management Manual can be found here: http://www.blindsailinginternational.com/rmm-part-4/
Follow teams preparations for the September Blind Match Racing World Championships.
BSI is really pleased to be able to confirm that plans are moving forward for The World Sailing Blind Fleet Worlds taking place at the Houston Yacht Club September 9-15, 2017. Full information and web site will be available by September 2016.
First ever Canadian invitational blind sailing regatta.
It will be September 9th–11th 2016 Oakville, Ontario. Click on link to find out more https://1dsailing.com/blind-sailing-regatta/
Homerus Italian Match Racing Championship Lake Garda , Italy June23-26, 2016
Homerus Italian Match Racing Championship took place on Lake Garda, Italy, June 23rd to 26th ), 2016. The regatta was sailed in 2-person Meteor class sailboats. Despite challenging light winds both B1 and B2 classes enjoyed some good racing. Visit the Homerus site: http://www.homerus.it
Who says you can’t campaign in the; Sonar Paralympic class, as well as Blind Fleet Racing and Blind Match Racing classes.
Liam Cattermole tells us about his experiences and opportunities
I guess I should start with a little about myself and how I came to be lucky enough to campaign in the Sonar class. My name is Liam Cattermole, I’m 24 and grew up around the water, the beach and the harbor in a small village south of Chichester in West Sussex on the south coast of England. I have been in or on the water in one way or another ever since I can remember. When I was in my mid-teens I started to realise I couldn’t quite keep up with my friends in whatever water sports we would be doing at the time. So it slowly started to sink in that I was slightly different, and to ultimately accept that I had a disability.
I have Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is a degenerative eye disease. It has pretty steadily continued to deteriorate for the last 10 years, with one exception of a detached retina in my right eye suddenly cutting my vision essentially in half. I now have around 10 degrees of vision remaining.
So, let’s leave that behind and get onto far more interesting subjects, sailing! I first sailed with Blind Sailing probably in 2010, I absolutely loved it! I was able to be competitive again, and i actually had a chance to win because these people couldn’t see very well either! It was fantastic. I attended every training weekend i could and in 2013 I was in Japan competing in the Fleet Racing World Championships in the B3 class and again in 2014 in the U.S. competing at Match Racing World Championships this time however, as a B2.
Alongside the Blind Sailing training weekends I had been invited to attend a new initiative set up by the RYA to increase participation in the Paralympic classes. One of the three boats sailed in the Paralympics is the Sonar. The others being the 2.4mtr and the Skud 18. I had previously sailed the Sonar with Blind Sailing so naturally gravitated towards it.
It was a completely different dynamic, being around sailors with such a variety disabilities. It presented such a mix of challenges both on and off the water. I wandered around bumping into things, feeling at first a little out of place. I had all my limbs, I could stand and walk around just fine. Granted bumping into the odd obstacle. It didn’t take long to shake that feeling, these guys were just like me. They just wanted to sail and have a lot of fun doing it. Where I struggled with my vision they could help and where they struggled I was there. It sort of worked well, between a couple of us we made a fully able bodied person!
A couple of months went by and one afternoon I got a phone call asking if I wanted to step in at the last minute for one of the guys at an event in Medemblik, The Netherlands. Of course I said I was available! So I attended the regatta. I don’t really think anyone expected us to do super great. The guys I was sailing with only had a few regattas under their belt and with me onboard who knew what would happen. However, we had a solid week with some great moments but ultimately ended up down the leader board quite a bit. Despite this, it was my first time racing against this type of competition – the best in disabled sailing! And I learnt so much just being around them.
I received another phone call. Craig and Steve wanted to know if I wanted to join them full time campaigning in the Sonar. I must have done something right in Medemblik! – I said yes, of course.
The fun began, we started training in Weymouth which is where the team’s boats and all the equipment are based. Along with services and staff offered by the British Sailing Team. When we trained at Weymouth it was typically three weeks training and a week off. When we were away at event venues this obviously changed to fit around pre training and event dates. We went to as many events to gain experience as we could afford. This was all made possible by Help for Heroes, who supported Craig and Steve and agreed to continue to support us as a team after the third injured serviceman, Luke had to step back.
The classification for visually impaired people in Paralympic classes’ regattas are slightly different. The classification is done through a point system 1-7. In the Sonar the maximum points allowed is 14 over three people. B1 = 3 points, B2 = 5 points and B3 = 7 points. I am currently aware of two other visually impaired people on the circuit both being 3 pointers and both jib trimmers.
Anyway we increased our training and racing, putting in as many hours as we could and finding any racing we could get involved in. In an effort to increase our race experience. We managed to secure funding for a private coach to accompany us to regattas and train with us back in the U.K. David Bedford worked us very hard and we made huge progress in our sailing and boat systems throughout the second half of 2015 and early 2016. We had high hopes for ourselves going into the 2015 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia however, just a few days before the regatta was schedule to begin we had injuries plague the team. We were unable to show our full potential which was gutting, but we placed very respectably under the circumstances. The team was not fully recovered for the next two major regattas and again we place very respectively but not able to show off what we really could do. Just a few weeks ago we heard the news that we had not been selected to represent Team GB at the 2016 Paralympic games, the odds were stacked against us, originally aiming for the 2020 games. But this time they didn’t go in our favour. We are lucky enough however to have enough funding to finish out the season.
A lot has changed over the last few months after firstly finding out a year ago that Paralympic sailing will not feature in the lineup for Tokyo 2020 games and more recently finding out that our team – Craig, Steve and I have not been selected to represent Team GB at the Rio Paralympics later this year. But I really cannot complain, I’m still sat here in the South of France in April, I’m off to Lake Garda next week then onto the 2016 World Championships in Holland… what an incredible couple of years!
I look forward to seeing you all in September at the Blind Match Racing Worlds!
Read Liam’s the full article on the BSI web site
How can you support Blind Sailing
you can help us expand and develop Blind Sailing, like Liam, by sharing your sailing biography, experiences, stories, with other blind sailors via BSI. Please forward any information you would like posted on the BSI web site, or included in a future BSI Newsletter.
On behalf of all of us at BSI, we wish you fare winds and good sailing!
Vicki Sheen: Chairman, Blind Sailing International (BSI)
Mobile +44 (0)7841 421111
Skype: vicki sheen (Brixham)