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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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