Blind Sailing Australia
Currently there are a number of individuals and groups participating in Sailability programs around the country. Groups are often organised as a part of a broader recreation program and often provide the first sailing experience for many participants. Individuals are then able to join up with Sailability to enable them to participate more regularly and develop their skills.
To find your nearest Sailability program, visit www.sailability.org
It was encouraging that a number of blind and vision impaired sailors took part in the 2006 Australian Access Class Championships with some sailing accompanied and others sailing solo. Congratulations to Paul Borg (B1) who won the Access 303 Solo division.
There was discussion at the event regarding the divisions in which blind sailors should sail unaccompanied and it was decided by the committee that a blind sailor competing in a mixed Access Liberty fleet was too dangerous due to the speed and power of the boat. As such it was decided that solo blind sailors be restricted to the 2.3 and 303 classes in mixed events.
Access Championships and events are held in most Australian States & Territories and the 2007 Access Class Australian & International Championships will be held in Adelaide during Easter from April 6-9.
For Australian Access Class information Click Here
Homerus International Blind Match Racing
Homerus events are generally sailed in two matched keelboats by a two person crew (B1, B2 and sometimes B3) with a sighted observer on board. The observers cannot provide any direction or assistance to the crews other than relaying penalty or overlap instructions from the on-water umpires or advising of an imminent collision.
Three "beeping buoys", each with a unique signal, define the course and each boat also has a sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack. Teams sail a round robin of two-boat match races on a windward leeward course of two laps with a final series to decide the winner.
Homerus International events are usually held each year in Europe. Australia has won these events three times.
Sailability NSW acquired a set of Homerus Acoustic Buoys in 2000 and these have been used for a demonstration event on Sydney Harbour and for an event at Port Stephens sailed in Access 303s. Otherwise, this specialized equipment has had very little use.
Blind Sailing International Format
The BSI format, usually two blind crew and two or three sighted crew, enables racing to be conducted with a minimum of changes to the regular fleet racing format and without complex equipment.
For more information visit: www.blindsailing.org