BLIND SAILING IN NEW
- Not all of those who are referred
to as BLIND are TOTALLY BLIND.
- Some people have degrees of
sight or have sight disabilities.
- A few blind people have sailed
for many years before 1988.
- Since 1988, sailing opportunities
have been offered to all New Zealand blind people through the
New Zealand Council for Sailing for the Blind and Vision Impaired
- The Council is formed by representatives
of the Royal
New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, blind
sailors themselves and supporters.
- The foremost aim of the Council
is to involve more blind and sighted volunteers, in all New Zealand
centres, in all types of sailing experience.
- The executive deals with the
day by day business of the council.
- Boat owners, the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Royal New
Zealand Yacht Squadron, the Royal New Zealand Foundation for
the Blind and many volunteers support blind sailing.
- Many blind New Zealanders sail
regularly with their sighted volunteers. Some own their own yachts.
- Of course, sighted volunteers
are essential for safety and to advise, but blind sailors are
trained to carry out all boat handling duties.
- The Annual National Training
School held in Auckland has introduced many, sighted and blind,
to learn to sail.
- Other centres are encouraged
and assisted to organise local schools.
- Over the years financial support
has been received from many individuals, yachting groups and
- The Council is affiliated to
New Zealand, Blind Sailing International and Blind Sport
SAILING BLIND MANUAL
- First produced in 1994, the
Manual incorporates articles written by experts on many
boating topics and yachting basics, some adapted for blind sailors.
- It is the basis for instruction
of blind sailors and 'beginning' sighted helpers.
- It is used in the conduct of
the Annual Sailing School.
- It includes a system of Certification.
- It has been ordered by many
groups around the world.
NEW ZEALAND BLIND SAILING
- The first club especially for
the blind is the Auckland Vision Impaired Sailing Club which
is affiliated to the Council and owns and operates two boats.
- Some community yacht clubs have
blind people as ordinary members.
- A continuing development drive
aims to establish more blind sailing "Cells", clubs
and groups in New Zealand centres.
BLIND SAILING INTERNATIONAL
- New Zealand convened and led
the formation of Blind
- and provided the Resident Executive
and the World Secretariat, 1994-1997.
- Great Britain, Northern Ireland,
Sweden, South Africa and New Zealand are founding Country Members
and Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Texas and Massachusetts
were the original State Members. Since then, Finland, France,
Japan, Norway, Spain, Italy, Rhode Island USA, Miami USA have
become involved. Other countries are expected to participate
in the future.
- New Zealand blind sailors have
been World Champions 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2006.
- New Zealand blind sailors hold
nine Gold, a three Silver and three Bronze medals, over six International
Regattas - in Auckland 1992, 1994 Fremantle, Australia, 1997
Weymouth, England, 1999 Miami, Florida, 2002 Gargnano Italy and
2006 Newport Rhode Island USA.
- Our blind sailors are very dependent
on expert sighted tacticians but are required to helm, handle
the sails and sheets without hands-on sighted help.
- Blind sailors are graded competitively
B1 - totally blind, B2 - some light perception and B3 - a sight
disability, in line with Blind Sport International gradings.
- A continuing effort and support
will be required to raise sufficient finance for New Zealand
to continue to defend world titles as well as to ensure development
- National Schools, held since
1988, have introduced many blind people and sighted helpers to
- Are annually held in Auckland,
usually in November.
- A grading system; from beginners
to experienced, ensure all abilities are catered for.
- Teaching at the Schools is based
on the manual 'Sailing Blind' and incorporates both practical
and theoretical activities.
- It is usual to attract over
30 blind sailors and the same number of sighted volunteers to
the Annual School.
- The Paxus Cup, now renamed the
Bob Larkin Memorial Cup, virtually the New Zealand Blind Sailing
Championship, is sailed during the School or at another convenient
- The School concludes with a
social event and prizegiving.