British success at the World Blind Sailing Championships, Sheboygan, USA, 12-17 September
Our GBR team of VI and sighted sailors have returned from the World Blind Sailing Championships in the US with silver medals in the B1 category, gold medals in the B2 and B3 categories and the Squadron Trophy for the highest ranked country overall. Another brilliant result for GBR sailing. Sharon Grennan, A Metro member, competed as the helm in the B1 boat and sums the event up below….
“I headed out to the world blind sailing championships 2017 in US on 9 September with the other members of the GBR team and our coach. I was sailing with two sighted sailors and a new B1 mainsheet trimmer, Catherine, who has been sailing with Blind Sailing since January.
“We went expecting a range of weather and weren’t disappointed. It was generally hot and sunny, with the risk of sun stroke and dehydration on the water but we had to race in a range of challenging wind conditions throughout the week – light wind where unbroken concentration was vital; strong wind and waves; and finally a last racing day of extreme shifts in wind direction. Racing was also delayed for fog, which I would have been happy to sail in but the sighted crew claimed that they couldn’t see more than 20 metres!
“We started the regatta with reasonably consistent third and fourth places and were lying in third place until the fourth racing day. We had a few very close encounters and tactical battles with other boats, leading to a protest hearing and the need for us to put in some 360 degree spins during the races. We sailed well in the stronger wind and wave conditions with a reasonably heavy crew and the confidence to sail in those conditions. With five first places and a second in the next two days, we drew level with the US crew lying in first place and went into the final day of racing with all to play for. Unfortunately, the US crew had the edge on us in shifty wind conditions and, although we fought hard with them down to the last leg of the last race, they won the day and the regatta.
“Overall a very exciting experience. Incredibly close rivalry on the water and yet close camraderie with sailors from around the world on shore. It was a tough regatta but I got a special buzz from participating and a lot of fun, adrenalin and some learning points for the future.
“Having trained hard since last Autumn and with a finalised team from May this year, we gave the competition everything we had. I’m delighted with the result. Of course, I would have liked to win gold, but that will have to wait until the next fleet racing championship in two years! I’m looking forward to the nationals in October and any other sailing challenges that come my way.”
Report by Sharon Grennan
Blind Sailing UK is looking for more VI sailors to join in training weekends going forward and the Blind Nationals in Cowes 13-15 October. No prior experience needed for a taster or training weekend; some prior sailing experience preferred for the nationals. Contact Blind Sailing for more information:
Mobile: 07796 687914