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



Sailing: Scottish Island Flotilla May 2021 with VISA-GB

Scottish Islands
Sat 15 may - Sat 22 May
07767 717440
15th May 2021
TBC call Sue 07767 717440
More Info

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

Visually Impaired Sailing from ShootScotland Ltd on Vimeo.

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 or call  07767717440


Visually Impaired Sailors’ Week – Blind Week 2020

20-27 June – Falmouth, Cornwall

Dear VI Sailor or Would-be Sailor

We are writing with a warm invitation to participate in this year’s event!

Our 2020 sailing week will be Falmouth-based and hosted once again by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club.

Participants will gather during the afternoon of Saturday 20 June and we start the week with an opening dinner at the RCYC clubhouse that evening.

Having sailed to a variety of locations along the coast during the week, the yachts and their crews will re-convene at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club for the closing dinner on the evening of Friday 26 June.  The event will then end on the morning of Saturday 27 June when crews will disembark their yachts and return home.

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 contact the below email to find out more and get the forms/emails you need to reply too  Closing date:  Monday 16 March 2020.

Please note that we now have a dedicated Blind Week email address which is: and all emails and correspondence should be sent to this new address.

The RYA’s recently made video of the event is a useful introduction

To avoid misunderstandings it is important to reply to this email, even if you have previously indicated that you would like to participate in Blind Week 2020.

We are very aware of the need to keep costs under tight control and we have been able to maintain the VI participant’s fee for the 2020 event at £250.

If you haven’t participated in Blind Week before, please read ‘What’s it all About?’ – a description by regular VI participants to be found in the document which follows on from this letter (as we’ve been told that email attachments can sometimes be a headache!)

We 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 welcomed 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 the event, but might also like to come along, or any friend who doesn’t appear to have received this email, please do ask them to contact us – or you can simply copy this email onto them.

Please note that Blind Week only caters for applicants over 18 years old.  In addition, the sailing yachts used are not specially equipped or adapted to cater for physical disabilities, and therefore the event requires moderate agility by all the crew, including VI participants.  This requirement is set out in the ‘What’s It All About’ document, Section 4, and we ask you to confirm that you meet it.

At this early planning stage it is impossible to offer firm places until we know the availability of boats.  So while we will quickly acknowledge receipt of your application, we will only be able to confirm your place and your provisional yacht allocation in early April.

We very much look forward to hearing from you!

Once again – our best wishes for 2020… a New Year in which we hope you’ll spend some of your time on the water with us!

Will Bridge  and Rosie Shorman

Blind Week Co-ordinators


Tideway Sailabilty

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.

Sundays 10.30-15.30

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

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.

Other Events

Please see our busy events calendar.  To register your interest or for more information about any event please email



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.

  • TASTER WEEKEND – Thursday evening 7th to 9th May 2020
    (8th is a Bank Holiday).

Dates for an experienced crew who have been WITH East before….

  • LONG WEEKEND – Friday 29th May evening to Monday 1st June.
  • SEPTEMBER WEEK CRUISE – Friday 4th September evening to Saturday 12th morning.

Contact:    Trevor Williams       Mobile:     0787 290 7719
Visit our website       EAST is a registered charity.

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
The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST)

or contact Amanda Green at for more info on getting afloat.


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