EAST Visually Impaired Sailing gets off to a Good Start!

A group of very happy sailors came together for a welcome and shared supper at The Waterside Centre, Levington on Thursday, 16th May. This was the first of two weekend sailing events for visually impaired sailors for 2013.

After the crews were introduced to the whole group by the Skippers (nine in total), the Admiral of the fleet gave a brief outline of the plans for the weekend.

Friday morning saw the start of the plans – a self timed race to Brightlingsea to start at 11.00 hrs from Collimer buoy and end at no 13 in the Colne! However, some of the Skippers decided this was a touch late and set off earlier to catch more of the ebb out of the River Orwell thus giving them an advantage!!

The wind was northerly (around 10 knots) so a bit chilly too. It was a run down the river and out towards the Medusa buoy. Once past the harbour, several of the boats headed off the coast and this turned out to be a good tactical move for the wind and tide. It was great sailing although cold with the last of the boats reaching Brightlingsea around 16.30 hrs. The Admiral was quick to collect the timings but not quite so quick to reveal the winner!

The evening was spent with some crews eating ashore and some remaining on the boats. Plans were made for an early departure and, after an uneventful night, the boats set off around 7.30 hrs. Again, it was a favourable sail back - (a Westerly wind around seven to eight knots, though still bitterly cold) to home waters where the boats and crews enjoyed free sailing time before coming together at The Royal Harwich Yacht Club for a social evening. It was with anticipation and after much debate the winner of the race was announced...and the winner was Ian Jewry and crew in Sulis, second place went to Martin Ward and crew in Loafing and third place to Tim Thomas and crew in Rosabella! This led to even more debate about the handicapping!

Sunday was a slow start with the boats heading off in various directions towards their home ports and most crews departing shortly after lunch to make tracks for home.

Feedback from the Visually Impaired sailors indicate that they all had an excellent time with good sailing and opportunities to learn and practice their sailings skills. Along with a good social programme, albeit short and good company most announced that they 'would be back'!

The next event is a nine day cruise in June which, to date, is now fully booked. Following this there will be another weekend in September and our Cruise Coordinator, Barbara Dutch, would welcome enquiries from Skippers, Sighted Crew and Visually Impaired Sailors.

If you are interested, then do get in touch with Barbara on 01473 326911

-Carol Bloyce