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Rutland Sailing Club welcomes Blind Sailing

by Lucy Hodges 12 Jul 2023 09:33 BST
Rutland Sailing Club welcomes Blind Sailing © RSC

Rutland Sailing Club welcomed Blind Sailing in May and June and some would say they provided the perfect conditions on and off shore to run their keelboat training, in the RS21 ahead of competing at the RYA Sailability Multiclass Event in July.

A big thank you to David Wilkins for helping organize with his team Jon, Bill and Tony and the office for making it all run smoothly. Blind Sailing was able to charter the clubs RS21, a great boat to train in and develop in all conditions.

Blind Sailing is proud to have such great coaches support the charity and these weekends were supported by Steve Irish is a long standing coach to Blind Sailing, working and asking questions and goals of the sailors ahead of the weekend and when I say sailors we are one big team when we are training, our volunteers enable us to enter events so training together is key helping us all develop.

Rutland provides a lake with no tide but a long enough fetch in some wind directions creating it creates waves, all conditions that is great to train in for all our events. As a group having access to the shore to come in and chat or carry out some land drills, really supports the sailors and at Rutland like many of the clubs we work with they provided a great classroom and pontoons we tie up to and work through different elements. Key these two weekends has been foot work.

You may ask why foot work, well if you are new to reading about Blind Sailing you may be thinking how does that work!

Well, a lot is to do with feeling, the wind on your face and the boat underneath you, give it a go when out in the fresh air, see if you can locate the wind on your face and walk and turn and see if you can keep it on your cheek. With having little or no vision we are not visually learners so much as those that are fully sighted, we listen to instructions and build up our skills, taking on feedback, but with land drills our sailors can place their hands on our volunteers and see how to move across the boat, then they can support our sailors doing the same. This takes away the sails flapping and holding a course and allows time to talk.

Both weekends we had great conditions wind of 10-13 Knots with the sun out, all be it in June slightly hotter.  All sailors made the most of both Saturday's, putting in a long day but progressing and looking at the basics to move forward. Steve checked in and jumped from boat to boat as with visually impaired sailing it's good to get a feel for what is happening and the communication as it is a key skills in our sailing, not just for the volunteer but all round communication.

Rutland also put on a great barbecue thanks to Max and his team, both weekends we were spoilt including some special cakes, the onshore facilities were just as good as on the water, everything is one place helping the training run smooth.

So many thank you, our Rutland Water Sailing Club, our volunteers, our key sponsors Rooster Sailing Ltd, ARB Tree and Garden Solutions, RYA Sailability and the Together Fund.

If you want to know more please get in touch and we are also looking for more clubs to support our Sail At Home project getting more visually impaired sailors regularly sailing and racing.

Here is a short video of what happened on the water, but take a look at our website to learn more:

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