Vision Impaired Sailors’ Week on the South Coast – Blind Week – 24 June – 1 July 2017

Blind Sailing
Royal Southampton
Email to confirm - TBC
24th June 2017
£240 – the same as last year.

  • 24-1 July Blind Week –  Royal Southampton Yacht Club

Our 2017 sailing week will be Solent-based and hosted once again by the Royal Southampton Yacht Club.  Following the well-established pattern, participants will gather on Saturday 24th June in the afternoon, and we start the week’s events with an opening dinner at the Clubhouse that evening.  Having sailed a variety of routes, the yachts and their crews will converge back at the Club for the closing dinner on Friday evening, and then crews will disembark and the event will end on Saturday morning 1st July.

I am delighted to say that Mike Browne has once again agreed to facilitate this event through his charity, Sporting Activities for the Disabled Charitable Trust.

If you are visually impaired and would like to apply for a place to crew on a yacht for the week,  please fill in your responses to the word document form below and email to Dr Will Bridge,  Co-ordinator of Blind Week,  Email

Word Document Form: LINK

Please do so even if you’ve already mentioned your wish to participate in BW 2017 to me, or to anyone else involved in the event.

I am very aware of the need to keep costs under tight control, so it’s great that we are able to hold the fee for Blind Week at £240 – the same as last year.

I should emphasise that you really do not need any prior sailing experience to participate in and really enjoy Blind Week.  Complete beginners and newcomers are just as warmly welcome as experienced VI sailors whose skills have been developed over many sea miles!  If you know of any visually impaired person who may not be aware of Blind Week, but might like to come along, or any friend who doesn’t appear to have received this letter, please do ask them to contact me – or you might simply copy this email onto them.  We can only cater for VI sailors over 18, and the normal sailing yachts we use do require reasonable agility by all the crew, as set out in the ‘What’s it all About document.

At this stage it is impossible to confirm places until we know the availability of boats, so do bear with me until I’m able to confirm your place and your provisional yacht allocation – which will be in April.

I very much look forward to hearing from you.  If you would like to take part in the event please respond directly to this email by completing the questions set out below and sending the whole email back to me.

Dr Will Bridge,  Co-ordinator of Blind Week,  Email

Sporting Activities for the Disabled Charitable Trust:  Charity no. 1044893

31 Pacific Close, Southampton SO14 3TX

If you haven’t participated in VISailors’ Week/Blind Week before, please read  below.

1 What is Blind Week?

Over 20 yachts take part in the week and they are divided into smaller groups
or ‘fleets’ to sail to different destinations each day. The week starts on a
Saturday where you are greeted by your skipper and fellow crew followed by
dinner at the host yacht club. Sailing starts on the Sunday and continues until
Friday. The week ends with another dinner back at the yacht club on the
Friday evening before travelling home on Saturday morning. Sailing is
dependant on the weather and the coastline you are sailing. Depending on
the plan for your fleet and weather conditions, sailing days can be long or
short. Your skipper will talk through the plan for each day, and your first day
will be a careful introduction to sailing and the feel of the boat and will often
involve only a short sail.

2 Who will I be sailing with?

Blind Week is run by volunteers. Yachts are donated or chartered for the
week and the skippers and sighted crew are volunteers who donate their time
to sail with us. The money that you pay is not to cover the cost of hiring a
boat or the time of the skipper – both are freely given for the event. Rather it
is a contribution to the cost of your yacht’s food and mooring fees for the
duration of the week.
Sighted volunteers are from all different sailing backgrounds from local club
sailors to those that race and those that cruise around the world. Many of the
skippers and other crew have volunteered for over 20 years so have a great
deal of sailing experience and of sailing with visually impaired people. On
each boat there is a skipper, who is in charge of the boat and the safety of the
crew on board. The number of sighted crew on board is at least the same as
the number of VI crew. Before the event your skipper will be in direct contact
to provide any information that you may need, and find out about any special
needs or concerns you may have.

3 What is the accommodation like onboard?

No two yachts have identical layouts. The yachts on the week range in length
from around 30ft to 50ft and vary in design from motor sailors to racing
Being a yacht, your accommodation will be compact to say the least. You may
be asked to share a cabin with someone of the same gender and the
accommodation may be either in bunk beds or next to someone in a cabin
designed for two people. Whether you feel this is “nice and cosy” or “cooped
up in a wardrobe”, it is not an environment for anyone with serious
claustrophobia! There will not be much space to spread your belongings
around so you will have to live out of your bag for the week. So a fold away or
soft bag is key to stowing your kit. All yachts have a toilet and sink in a small
compartment for use during the night and day.
On most nights you will be tied up on a pontoon, so you will be able to go
ashore, socialise with crew from other yachts in your fleet and to use toilet
and shower facilities there. However, for nights at anchor, you will be able to
use the toilet and have a wash (but not shower) aboard.

4 Do I need to be very fit and active to come on a yacht sailing holiday?

You don’t need to be extra fit and active to come on Blind Week and you can
do as much as you feel comfortable with. However, you do need to be able to
get up and down a short, steep set of steps from the deck to the accommodation inside the yacht, to be able to manage in a fairly confined living space and to be able to step over the guard rails on the side of the yacht.

A reasonable yardstick would be if you feel you could climb over a stile or a 5-bar gate OK. In some locations it may not be possible to tie up to a pontoon and you may need to climb into and out of an inflatable dinghy to go ashore.

5  What is sailing on a yacht like?

All of the yachts are different and hence they sail and feel different but all are
safe. You can do as much or as little on the boat as you want. This will
always be under the supervision and subject to the consent of the skipper with
safety considerations in mind, If you want to learn more about sailing or
particular skills during the week, you are encouraged to discuss this with your
skipper, who will try to facilitate this. As part of the yacht’s crew, you can help
with the sail trim, hoisting and winching, helming/steering and any other
aspect of handling the yacht – your skipper and sighted crew will support you
where needed.
The weather conditions and sailing area can be different each day, and they
can change quickly. All boats will heel (lean) to a certain point whilst sailing.
This can feel strange at first but it is perfectly normal and should not be a
cause for concern. By the end of the week you will have tried something new,
been challenged in a supportive way and experienced the camaraderie of
sailing with the rest of your crew and with people on other yachts.

6 What should I bring with me?

Your luggage should be packed in a soft bag rather than a suitcase or trunk to
make it easy to stow on board. Note that it is usually cooler sailing out on the
water than on land so it is a good idea to bring plenty of layers of clothing and
to be prepared for all weather and a range of temperatures – we’re sailing in
England rather than the Mediterranean after all!
Here are some suggestions of items that you should think about bringing in
addition to the items that you would pack for any other trip:

  • sleeping bag and small pillow or soft clothing that you can use as a
  • waterproof jacket and trousers (let your skipper and the organiser know
    in advance if you don’t have waterproofs as you may be able to borrow
    a set)
  • boots or non-slip footwear (many people prefer to wear footwear that
    protects your toes to avoid stubbing them or hurting your feet; footwear
    with a good grip helps to avoid slipping on a wet deck surface)
  • layers of clothing to keep you warm (synthetic fleeces etc are best for
    keeping dry and warm)
  • swimwear (in case of an opportunity to go swimming!)
  • a small or quick-dry towel
  • sun cream, sun glasses and a hat (as you are more likely to get burnt
    when sailing)
  • RYA log book (if you want to start recording your sailing miles)
  • 1 set of smart casual clothes for the dinner at the end of the week
  • Some spending money – the amount you pay for the week covers all your meals taken on board and you will not be expected to pay any more for this – however any drinks or other additional items will be subject to a boat kitty or as agreed with the skipper. One pound coins are particularly useful for showers and trolleys ashore


The Blind Sailing  Charity

Blind Sailing is a Registered Charity, our aim is to help blind and partially sighted people sail at all levels.

  • Organise regular training sessions and racing events.
  • Provide coaching and help to enable novices learn to sail.
  • Coach the more advanced to enable them to compete at both national and international events.

We are supported by a number of excellent sailing schools & related organisations who provide their expertise, boats, venues and safety cover visit Blind Sailing Links page

Blind Sailing website:

Contact: or call 07796 687914

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