Photo Flash: 2015 Blind World & International Championship Sails to Chicago Yacht Club
The 2015 Blind World & International Championship, sponsored by Wintrust, came to the Chicago Yacht Club September 10-13. Fifteen blind and visually impaired teams from around the world competed in this event. Scroll down for photos!
Each team raced with four crew members, two of whom are visually impaired. The additional crew members were sighted, but one could only manage the headsail and the other could only provide oral instructions. "There is an amazing level of trust between a blind sailor and the sighted tactician," said Vicki Sheen, Chair of Blind Sailing International. "The blind sailors have to trust the information given by the tactician, and the tactician has to have faith that their blind teammates will deliver what is asked."
There were three levels of blindness that competed at the event: Blind 1, Blind 2 and Blind 3. The classifications range from total blindness or detection of light (Blind 1) to various degrees of visual impairment (Blind 2 and Blind 3). Competitors go through a testing process to identify a racer's classification by measuring central visual acuity and undergoing visual field testing to determine peripheral vision.
Among this year's competitors were 2014 Blind Match Racing World Champion and Member of the British Empire Award winner Lucy Hodges (GBR) and 2013 Blind Worlds Champion Sharon Grennan (GBR). Hodges had never been to Chicago and was excited to experience what the city is all about. "I love the challenge of new places: learning the environment and weather patterns especially. My first time on Lake Michigan, I could not tell the difference from the sea to the lake it is so big!"
Racing was done on two types of 23' and 28' one design sailboats, which means that each boat had the exact same setup and features. There were no modifications to the layout of the boats or changes to how the race is run relative to standard regattas.
For more, go to www.chicagoyachtclub.org/blindworlds2015.
Blind 1 surfing downwind. Photo by Chris Albanis.
Chicago Yacht Club Hosts Blind Sailing World & International Championship, presented by Wintrust. Photo by Chris Albanis.
Dave Allerton NZL - Chicago Yacht Club
Duane Farrar USA - Chicago Yacht Club
Howard Hughes USA - Chicago Yacht Club
Karen Kinsey trims main blindfolded for David Brown CAN. Photo by Chris Albanis.
Sharon Grennan's Team Waits for Wind to Settle. Photo by Morgan Kinney.
Teams head back to the docks due to approaching storms. Photo by Morgan Kinney.
Warrior Sailing Team. Photo by Morgan Kinney.