SailBlind provides blind and visually impaired persons with an opportunity to learn the art and science of sailing
Blind adults and children can learn to sail through the adaptive methods developed by the Carroll Center SailBlind Program and through the abilities of sighted sailors who volunteer as sailing guides. No sailing experience is necessary for blind sailors to participate, while sighted guides must meet specific criteria.
Sailing sessions are conducted weekly for both recreation and racing sailors out of the facilities of the Courageous Sailing Center, Charlestown, sailing in Boston Harbor. Recreation Sailing Meets every Saturday; competitive Sailing meets every Wednesday evening, throughout the summer.
Safety is of paramount concern in sailing and all participants – blind and sighted – must wear life jackets while in the boat and on the dock.
Blind sailors are charged a nominal fee to participate; sighted guides sail free, while sharing their time and expertise with blind sailors.
Sailing occurs in a variety of weather conditions and participants must dress accordingly for the day’s weather. A list of dress guidelines is available from the SailBlind office to all participants.
Slight inclement weather will not be cause for cancellation, while stormy or high wind conditions would cancel the day’s sailing. If sailing is cancelled due to weather, all will be contacted and notified of the cancellation at least 2 hours before.
Sighted Guide Sailors
Experienced sighted sailors are always needed as guides. Sighted Guide Sailors must be experienced on the type of boat used under the existing conditions, and be approved by the SailBlind Director. New guides will be shown methods for guiding a blind sailor and must demonstrate adequate sailing skills, for either racing or recreational sailing.
Children and Youth
SailBlind can structure adaptive sailing instructions for the specific needs of blind and vision impaired children and youth. This includes using models and hands-on instruction for introducing the concepts of sailing.
Recreational sailing is available to blind persons at all levels of ability and is provided every Saturday, from June through August, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to those properly registered. The cost to participate is $5.00 per person per week. Boats used are the Rhodes 19, a safe, easy to sail keel boat that will carry 3 to 4 persons comfortably. Family and guests may join the blind sailor, provided there is ample room for all registered blind sailors.
Novice blind sailors are introduced to safety considerations, what to wear, the layout and parts of the boat, the principles of sailing and hands-on techniques for steering and sail trim.
Experienced blind sailors can improve their sailing skills through instruction and practice throughout the summer.
Step sailing is offered to blind sailors who have exceeded the level of skill for recreational sailing and want to advance their skills. You will learn how to sail on a J24, working one on one with a sighted guide. After you have experienced recreational sailing, Step sailing will sharpen your skills to where you can eventually advance to racing if that is your goal.
Experienced blind sailors with sufficient ability and skill may be invited to join the SailBlind competitive program. Sighted sailing guides, experienced in racing, are encouraged to join the racing program. Guide training is provided.
Racing practice is conducted each Wednesday evening, from 6:00 p.m. to sundown in a fleet of J/22 sailboats. Additional weekly club racing is available every Friday evening.
Racing sailors can become eligible to compete in scheduled regattas, including the Blind Sailing World Championships held in a different country, approximately every three years. SailBlind teams have successfully competed in all world championships since they began in 1992.
Blind Sailing International (BSI)
Blind Sailing International brings blind sailors throughout the world together to race competitively and to promote the value and benefits of blind sailing. Since 1992, blind sailing world championships have been conducted in different locations throughout the world, including New Zealand, Australia, England, Italy, USA Florida and Rhode Island. Blind Sailing International was formalized in 1994 and The Carroll Center SailBlind Program is one of the founding member organizations and housed the executive office from 1999-2009. Currently BSI is headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand.
Follow the progress of the SailBlind teams in the SailBlind Blog.
Sense the Wind
Sense The Wind is a documentary journey into the fascinating world of competitive blind sailing, one that follows four visually impaired sailors as they train and compete, while exploring the unique community that has grown among these brave athletes as they prepare for the 2013 Blind Sailing World Championships and future Paralympics.