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Planning for the RyA Nationals – September 24th

The RYA Match Racing Nationals are now only one month away. I will admit, I was chilled when the idea was for Nick and I to enter and crew one of the boats. Nick to be tactician his normal role, with me moving from helm to main sheet which is my crew role when I race in main stream competitions. However we have now moved onto plan B; Nick still tactician but myself staying on helm. Nick and our coach are convinced I will get more out of it on the helm than by would main sheeting.

The entry is now in. Ian Mills a coach and World Champion sailor in his own right has generously agreed to join us and has talked a friend into becoming the fourth team member.

So what are the challenges: I will be a totally blind helm against sighted helm? There will be no audio marks to tell me where the start line is. There will be no audio buoys to tell me where the windward or leeward mark or finish line is. No audio sound on the other boat to tell me whether it is on port or starboard.

How will we do it: Nick Donnini and I have developed very clear communication skills between us. Ian has supported my training over the years and has supported me on helm. With Ian and our fourth crew member to feed in information regarding marks when distant, Nick can see the marks once he is close enough. I can always hear the noise of the other boats on the water.

Good communication skills are essential for any successful sailing team. As visually impaired sailors we always work hard  to continually feedback information to each other. So will this all make me less nervous? Somehow I doubt it, but hay ho what’s life without an even bigger challenge to look forward to.

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