Japan is amazing. You really do get a sense of being in a different country and culture. Not least because of the changes of footwear from; shoes, to slippers, to slippers within bathrooms. There is such an attention to small details, pleasant fragrances, different fruit designs in the pavements, bird song on the railway platforms.
The opening ceremony was the first chance for all the teams to get together. a chance to catch up with old friends; from New Zealand, Japan, USA, and a chance to take right back up where we left off joking and teasing with our good friends from Australia and Canada. A traditional Lion dance and a few rum cocktails later and we’re back to reminiscing over previous races and old battles won and lost.
Good first day’s racing: winds progressed through the four races, from moderately light to moderately windy. With the B1 team finishing the day in joint first place with Japan, and the B2 team finishing first with the B3 team second.
In the light winds the Japanese appear bolistic, while in the stronger winds all our winter heavy weather training seams to have paid off (or is it just our heavier weight?). Keep your fingers crossed it’s only the first day and there is a lot of competition and races to go.
We leave on Monday to travel to Japan for the 2013 World Blind Fleet Sailing
Championships. A competition where Blind sailors helm and crew J24s a
twenty-four foot racing yacht. With between seven to eleven boats fighting
for position on the start line it can be quite lively and invariably results
in very close competitive sailing.
I have raced in the Brixham sailing fleet for the last ten years and am
currently helming Blues Too in the Thursday evening Brixham yacht club,
sailing a hunter Impala owned and raced by David and Liz Mills. Doing well
in the first two races of the season coming second and first so far in the
In Japan, I am hoping to replicate my success in Australia at the Perth 2011
Blind Match racing Championships at which I and the GB team won gold. In
Blind match racing, the boats are sailed with the entire crew comprised of
Visually impaired sailors, with no sighted crew on board.
We have been training for the Japan World Championships, through the winter
in Cowes Rile of White and Weymouth, much of the time in freezing conditions
and high winds. Japan is predicted to be gentle winds and The GB team will
only have two days of training in Japan in which to adjust to these light
conditions. The teams had a highly successful final training session in
Weymouth hosted by the Castle Cove sailing club who’s members generously
loaned us three J24s. Alongside this support, The GP team has been
generously sponsored by Mustow with team kit
There are nineteen teams from five countries, sailing in three separate
classes for Blind and partially sighted sailors. I will be competing in the
Blind class. Each team comprises of; a Visually impaired helm, visually
impaired main sal trimmer, Sighted jib sail trimmer and a sighted
Racing starts Sunday 26th May finishing Saturday June 1st, weather allowing
we hope to sail up to fifteen races. Keen supporters can follow the progress
on the Blind Sailing web site blindsailing.org.
B1 Blind GP team; Vicki Sheen from Brixham
Torbay, Sharon Grennan from Greenwich London, Ian Shearer from Cambria,
Martin Moody from Southampton.
GB Teams going out