Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to help out Blind Sailing UK when they raced in the final of the British Keelboat League. This was a first for blind sailors, qualifying to race against 21 other able-bodied teams from all over the UK.
I have to say, that what this whole team do is incredibly humbling and inspiring, and it was entertaining but also lovely that so many, even up until the second day of the regatta, didn’t realise that Lucy or Eddie were blind. They were part of the fleet, and really sending it in there with the help of two amazing sailors, Gary Butler and Ben Hazeldine (now to be called the “on-water guide Dog”) who put so much in to helping Blind Sailing happen and giving Lucy Hodges and Edward Kitchen the ability to be free.
Even though Lucy had never raced these types of boats with a spinnaker before, she took it on, and led her team through this adventure with her impressive attitude completely focussed on “just keeping the boat moving” 💪💙⛵️
If you have the opportunity, or the ability to help out this amazing team and charity, I urge you to get involved. Not only is this team one of the best examples of trust and communication that I have seen (not just on a boat), they are beautiful and genuine people (and bloody hilarious!!!), and I can’t wait to hopefully go for a sail with them myself sometime soon.
Enjoy the adventure and thank you for having me Lucy, Eddie, Ben, Gary and Briar – Nic x
*Note* a big thanks also to the Royal Thames Yacht Club and Queen Mary Sailing Club for having me over the weekend, and helping me to share the racing action. Thanks to Jack Fenwick from the Royal Yachting Association for his obvious efforts to put on the event, which was a fantastic format not too dissimilar from the National Sailing League – Oceania who I worked with in Australia. I do hope this format grows around the world!
And a big thanks to Jon Partridge from RS Sailing for their supply of the boats (and a sneaky sail on the Sunday – my first on an RS – with the Royal Southern Academy and Young Members – Royal Southern Yacht Club)!