Last weekend I returned to sailing with Blind Sailing UK.  You might be wondering how in these times of confusion and ever-changing guidance how this was possible.

Blind Sailing UK’s work before the weekend and the policies that have been implemented to reduce the spread of infection as much as possible meant that this trial weekend could go ahead.

We joined South Cerny sailing club for a weekend of sailing and racing.  Everybody had to remain outside and arrive kitted up.  Blind sailors and volunteers were put in to support bubbles so for example, I went along to this weekend with my support worker Pip and sailed with one of our young volunteers.  Even though we don’t live near each other we always wore face coverings despite being out in the fresh air.  We distanced as much as we could but knew that there would inevitably be times that she’d have to help me especially when rigging and derigging the boat.  The Covid policy said that when communicating we shouldn’t face each other and both of us consciously tried to keep to these guidelines.

Despite these extra rules I still had a brilliant yet challenging time being back out on the water.

Although we weren’t aloud to focus on training, I still tried to put in to practise body weight movement and building up my confidence when helming and moving across the Wayfarer.  I’d go so far as to say that helming is my least favourite part of sailing a dinghy.  I can’t yet concentrate on helming and controlling the main sheet (pulling in or letting out the bigger of the two sails) but this will come in time.

Another factor of the challenging weekend was the constantly changing gusts of wind; these were very strong at times (about 28 miles an hour) and having no sight these would suddenly creep up on me.  Thank you to the volunteer who worked with me over the weekend; her reassuring calming instructions meant that we were the only pair of dinghy sailors who didn’t capsize once over the weekend.  There was one time though when we almost did, character building for both of us 😊 we came out of the hairy moment in fits of laughter.

It was amazing to be back on the water and I am extremely thankful to the mountains of hard work Lucy and all the volunteers did before and during this fun weekend.


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