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GBR Blind Sailing Training with Ian Williams at Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club

by Lucy Hodges 28 Mar 2018 11:37 BST 24-25 March 2018
GBR Blind Sailing at Cowes © GBR Blind Sailing

With a good steady breeze last Saturday, the squad met at Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club, this weekend was the fourth weekend out of five planned winter training sessions, all focused on individual sailors advancing their skills, to aid them with Match and Fleet racing over the next two years.

The squad are currently all looking for selection for the 2018 Blind World Match Racing Championships, due to be held this September by the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club. The sighted volunteers and coach have worked hard to understand Match Racing in order to develop the teams skills, but it was true to say there was a lot of excitement on Saturday morning for the arrival of Ian Williams, six-times World Match Racing Champion.

Lucy Hodges MBE, Commodore of Blind Sailing, welcomed Ian and explained blind match racing, as there is only one real difference from the racing you compete in, and that is the buoys that mark the course make acoustic sounds and the boats make a different noise depending on the tack or gybe they are on. Ian was keen to get out on the water and see this in action. Lucy also explained to Ian that under the rules of World Sailing, the crew is made up of three sailors adding to a total of 6 points but the helm can only be a B1 total blind, which means that communication is key.

The squad spent Saturday on the water working in teams putting together the skills they had been taught over the winter. Ben Hazeldine supported Ian running exercises that would allow all to show what they had learnt. The breeze in the Solent was 8-12 knots which stayed until mid afternoon.

Having the experience and knowledge of Ian Williams for the squad was a huge honour. Ian jumped on board each boat giving feedback and support, which also allowed Ian a chance to see how it worked between the crews and see for himself some of the challenges the crew have to overcome to sail the boat around the race track effectively together.

After a successful morning the team had a chance to have a Q&A season with Ian and a chance for Ian to feedback to the group. It was great to hear that Blind Sailing is not that different to able-bodied sailing and that feel, communication and good base skills are key.

The team are back in Cowes this April for the final part of their winter training and selection process.

GBR Blind Sailing would like to thank Ian for his time and also all the volunteers that made the weekend run so smoothly.

If you would like to know more about GBR Blind Sailing and also more about Blind Match Racing then please visit

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