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Ocean Elements 2018
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GBR Team set to defend their title at the Blind Sailing Match Racing World Championships

by Lucy Hodges 10 Jun 2018 09:53 BST 1-7 September 2018

This September will see two teams from Great Britain take part in the 2018 World Match Racing Championships hosted by Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in conjunction with World Sailing.

It has been a long winter of selection with training being held up and down the county, sailors have put in a lot of effort to take up the training seeing all skill levels grow. As we look back at the training, it is thanks to Morrison and Foster for providing the funding to start the years training along with Superyacht UK and Maritime Skills Academy, and Ian Williams giving his coaching our Blind Sailing sighted team and the club's that support, UKSA, Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club, Hollingworth Lake Sailing Club, Windermere Adventure Centre and Ark Sailing and the Island Sailing Club.

You may ask what is Blind Match Racing? Well it is all done by acoustic sound, and the sailors using their knowledge and feel. At the seven minute gun, the sighted support steps off the boat, leaving the sailors to navigate their way around the course by sound, each mark making a unique sound and each boat making two separate sounds to identify which tack they are on. Using the sounds each team looks to get penalties against their opponent, no different from that of able-bodied Match Racing.

2018 will see Lucy Hodges MBE and Liam Cattermole look to become three-time World Match Racing Champions, this year joined by Sharon Grennan at the helm. Lucy said "it is an honour to be selected alongside my team members, to have won the Worlds twice is a dream with Liam beside me and to get the chance to defend our title in our home country is an honour. In the background so much hard work and time from our volunteers and coaches give us the skills and knowledge to be able to compete at this level and we look to do them and our sponsors proud. It is also thanks to Royal Northern and Clyde for hosting this event".

Sharon is bringing experience to the team after along success in the B1 division at the Blind Fleet Racing Championships. Liam is back with the team after winning Gold at the 2016 Match Racing Worlds he has taken a break from racing and been enjoying sailing around the cost of Europe, but Liam is back now and taking the place on the main.

Great Britain is also entering a second team, seeing three sailors selected to represent GBR for the first time in this event. Sally Rodrigues take to the helm after winning Silver at the 2017 Blind Fleet Racing Worlds this is a change in role but one Sally is keen to undertake, Sally will be alongside Eddie Kitchen on the mainsheet, Eddie is deaf-blind but a true inspiration of how feel and time on the water can give you a great understanding of sailing, Eddie has sailed hundreds of miles and this during 2018 has focused on racing using a new microphone system that allows the crew to talk directly to him. They will be joined by Laura Cammidge who will be sailing on home waters watched by her club members.

It is thanks to Sunseeker International Limited for sponsoring the team, it was a truly welcome email that sees the team and its sighted support headed by Ben Hazeldine set to compete at the Worlds.

We aim to keep you posted with our training and updates for the Worlds at www.gbrblindsailing.co.uk and Facebook @BlindSailingUK

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