Above: Photo of a Party on the Yacht- Blind Sailing Week!
Thank you Blind Metro Sports for giving me the opportunity to try sailing for the very first time. Sailing was a sport I had always wanted to try but never got the chance to do so, and I must admit I was really apprehensive as the date drew nearer.
Once I arrived at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club I was immediately put at ease and I can honestly say that was how it felt for the whole week. There were 7 crew on my boat in all, and three of us were visually impaired. The other two had sailed many times before, so I was the only absolute beginner.
There were 25 boats taking part in this adventure, divided into 4 fleets. There were 7 boats in our fleet and each fleet sailed to a different part of the Solent each day. Once we had all arrived, met our Skipper and Crew and settled into our boats, we then went to the welcome dinner at the RSYC. It gave us all a chance to meet up and find out the plans for the week.
After breakfast on board, which we did every morning, we set sail. It was good sailing weather, although it did rain once, and was quite chilly out on the water despite the heatwave that week. Luckily for me I did opt to hire the foul weather gear, which is a must I would say! However, the weather was amazing for the duration of the trip. We ate on board for 2 nights. The food was provided by our skipper’s wife and Kate the 1st mate, both meals were delicious, as was every meal we had. We arrived at a different yacht club each evening where good clean showers were available and a good meal provided in the club house. Every night before we went to dinner each boat held a drinks party on the pontoon, this meant that a cocktail of all sorts of alcohol was poured in a bucket with fruit and lemonade!!! Soft drinks were also provided.
There was never a dull moment on board. You could do as much or as little as you desired, there was no pressure. I really enjoyed getting involved and wanted to learn more (and still do). On my second day I took the helm and actually drove the boat, I learned how to tie knots, learned about tacking, jibing and had a great insight into life on the ocean wave. We went to ground one night whilst anchored at Poole harbour, which means the tide went out and the boat settled on the ground. It tilted on a 45 degree angle, which was interesting. I must admit I learned a new and important skill – to drink a glass of wine at 45 degrees!!!
I had such a great time on this trip. Sailing and learning to sail was amazing. The food and drink were plentiful and good. The weather was fantastic. But most important of all everyone who took part in VI sailing week was unbelievably helpful, kind and considerate. I would certainly recommend that if you get the chance to attend VI Sailing week, then take it!
Article by Deborah Impiazzi