Sailing for blind and partially sighted people
There are big boats and little boats, weekend cruises and longer passages in UK or foreign waters, but whatever you choose; life at sea or on the river offers an adventure to remember. The UK sailing season is typically March – October and as a blind or partially sighted crew member, it is possible to get involved in all aspects of life onboard, whether it be working the sails, navigation or helming.
Youtube video: Visually Impaired Sailors – Interview with Martin Ryan – by Tom Walker
Many blind and partially sighted people are naturally skilled at sailing on the wind – imagine being at the helm and in control of the boat, nudging the wheel back or forth as you feel the wind shift across your face!
Metro do not own a yacht or organise voyages, but there are many UK-based projects that offer sailing opportunities to blind and partially sighted people, including accessible Day Skipper Courses for those who’ve found their sea legs and caught the sailing bug!
The Visually Impaired Sailing Association of Great Britain VI-SA-GB
Over the years have had many cracking weeks of sailing, and been pioneers in empowering visually impaired sailors
We will have four yachts joining in with Blind Week in July this year, and we are planning to have a flotilla sailing off the west coast of Scotland in April 2020 as we did in 2014.
We are also looking at a Southern event to give more people the opportunity to sail in Hampshire and Dorset, and have a vision of around Britain voyage in 2021.
contact: Sue Hogge-Membership Secretary Suehogge@aol.com or call 07767717440
Blind Sailing Week 2021 is Cancelled!
We are sorry to say that we have taken the sad decision to cancel Blind Sailing Week 2021 which was scheduled for 12 to 19 of June. As you may have already realised, in view of the Prime Minister’s recently published pandemic ‘roadmap’, the event could not proceed lawfully in this timeslot.
We are deeply disappointed that Blind Week, like so many other events, will not be able to run for a second year due to the impact of Covid. The pandemic has not only created many obstacles and uncertainties over the last 12 months, but as many charities, organisations and businesses are now finding, it has created backlogs that will lead to delays in resuming normal activities, even once the majority of measures are lifted.
We have been investigating the possibility of delaying Blind Week until a later date in the summer. Sadly, the reorganisation of our sailing event, involving a week of overnight accommodation on small yachts, and also requiring large gatherings of people for safety briefings, arrivals/departures, socialising and the like, is a hugely challenging scenario during a period when the UK is recovering from, but by no means clear of Covid. Consequently, it has not been possible for yacht clubs, venues, marinas, charter companies, etc to accommodate Blind Week ‘as we know it’ later in the year.
Mindful of the fact that a Solent-based Blind Week will be an easier re-start after a two-year stoppage, we have already been in discussions with Royal Lymington Yacht Club regarding dates for next year. We are pleased to confirm that we have reservations in place and the next Blind Week will be from Saturday 2 to Saturday 9 July 2022 in Lymington.
Meanwhile, the consensus amongst numerous sailing charities seems to be that day-sailing activities and informal small gatherings may be possible later in the summer of 2021. We know of several organisations, including the Gwennili Trust, GBR Blind Sailing UK, VISA GB, East Anglian Sailing Trust and Coutts Bank Sailing Club who are currently assessing the viability of this alternative for VI sailors. If viable, it is understood that their offerings are likely to be day-sails, mostly Solent-based, or possibly small-scale overnight cruises.
For those VIs interested in pursuing any of these potential opportunities we have listed the contact details for each organisation below.
Gwennili Trust – www.gwennili.org.uk
GBR Blind Sailing UK – email@example.com
VISA GB – www.visa-gb.org.uk
East Anglian Sailing Trust – www.east-anglian-sailing-trust.org.uk
Please bear in mind that travel costs would need to be found, and due to the nature of day-sailing, early starts and later finishes may be necessary. Blind Sailing Week will offer these organisations, or participating individual skippers, use of our 3-D navigation charts, and full user guides for the VIS Compass smartphone-based audio compass system.
We look forward to better times when we can all get back on the water and enjoy one another’s company in the form of Blind Week. In the meantime, thank you again and we very much hope you and your family will stay healthy and active for the remainder of 2021.
With our best wishes
Will Bridge & Rosie Shorman
Sporting Activities for the Disabled Charitable Trust: Charity no. 1044893
31 Pacific Close
Southampton SO14 3TX
The RYA’s recently made video of the event is a useful introduction
We sail on Sundays year round plus Wednesday and Thursday from April to October, plus special days by arrangement. It is rare that we have to curtail sailing because of the weather as our volunteers are hardy and we can reduce the size of the sails if it is windy.
Please ring the sailing compound if you are unsure on 020 7237 9001 after 10.00 am.
Be patient as obviously the sailing activities take priority over answering a telephone!
Tideway is located at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, Greenland Dock, Rope Street, London, SE16 7SX. See our Find Us page for transport info.
Wednesdays & Thursdays 10.30-15.30
Just turn up although it is better to ring the clubhouse so we can expect you. If you are a group (4 or more) please contact us in advance so we can be sure of giving you the proper attention.
We sail most Sundays throughout the year (except Christmas & New Year). The emphasis is on those who are, or are moving towards, sailing fully independently. We have volunteers to help with launching and hoisting but limited volunteer capacity to provide assisted sailing.
To register your interest or for more information about any event please email firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sunday mornings we have a good group of juniors, mostly in the 6 to 14 age range, learning to sail independently. All the family can learn to sail together. Please note that parents etc are expected to help with boat preparation and pack-up at the end of the session and remain on hand to assist if necessary.
For adults and older independent juniors there is recreational sailing all day, brushing up on those techniques and occasional training sessions. Plus, we have some informal racing and coaching with the aim of improving skills and enjoyment.
YACHT SAILING FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE?
East Anglian Sailing Trust has skippers and sighted crew ready to take you aboard.
During the summer, we hope that individual EAST skippers will be able to offer sailing opportunities to experienced visually impaired sailors, by invitation. We would be pleased to offer an introductory service.
If you or your organisation is interested in taking part, please contact Trevor Williams on 07872907719.
Our VI Cruising Chairman Simon Daws, who is VI, would be very happy to talk to anybody with questions or in need of reassurance – Mobile: 07749 714361
Visit VI Sailing links below
or contact Amanda Green at
email@example.com for more info on getting afloat.