Nick Donnini is a Chartered Surveyor working for National Australia Bank (Yorkshire and Clydesdale) in Manchester. He is married to Linda and lives in Kettleshulme, a small village in the Peak District near Buxton. Linda and Nick have two dogs, Bramble and Holly, who are German Short-haired Pointers and seem to have a limitless amount of energy.
Nick, aged 42, has been visually impaired in his left eye since birth. An under developed pupil, a condition known as a columboma amblyopia, did not impact his general eyesight during his childhood or most of his adult life as his right eye had near perfect vision. In June 2008, however, he suffered from a retinal vascular occlusion in his good eye causing almost complete and sudden loss of sight in that eye overnight. Nick is now classified as being B3 Visually Impaired.
Nick has always been active and enjoyed all types of watersports, particularly scuba diving and sailing. Linda and Nick have both worked as scuba diving instructors on the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef in Australia.
After losing his sight his confidence was knocked massively and he found it difficult to continue sailing. In June 2010 Nick attended Blind Week, a sailing regatta held on the South Coast for blind and visually impaired people. The help and support of the organisers and able bodied carers gave Nick a massive confidence boost not only in relation to his sailing but in day to day life. Some of his interests have had to fall by the wayside including Kite Surfing and Archery but sailing has filled that gap!
In October 2010 Nick was invited to start training with Blind Sailing UK and with the support of sighted instructors from all over the UK he has been bitten by the Match Racing bug. Teaming up with Vicki Sheen and Dennis Manning the first competition he entered was the Blind Match Racing World Championships in Perth, Australia in March 2011. After a tight competition the team came away with the gold medal.
Nick and Vicki entered the British National Fleet Racing Championships in May 2011 in Ipswich. Essentially this competition was used by the team as a practice session for the Italian Open National Championships in Lake Garda in June 2011. Vicki and Nick came away with the silver medal at the Nationals and then came first in Salo on Lake Garda. At these events Nick wore a patch over his B3 eye to reduce his sight classification to B2. He hopes that this will not be necessary too many times in the future as the result of wearing the patch was severe motion sickness.
Nick and Vicki are hoping to enter some fully sighted Match Racing events to gain more experience and to promote the sport of blind sailing across the wider sailing community.
Whilst not sailing Nick is a keen gardener but only cultivates edible species. He has been a keen keeper of hens and ducks although after Mr Fox took all of his stock he has decided to focus on the sailing rather replace his flock.