Rutland Sailing Club hosts International Blind Keelboat League event at Rutland Water
A groundbreaking event hosted by Rutland Sailing Club has been hailed as a resounding success.
The club, in collaboration with Blind Sailing UK, staged the International Blind Keelboat League event at Rutland Water.
It showcased the resilience, skill, and camaraderie of six international blind sailing teams.
Under the strategic leadership of Lucy Hodges, commodore of Blind Sailing UK and European representative for Blind Sailing International, the competition not only marked a triumphant return for the sport globally but also demonstrated the potential of adaptive sports on an international stage.
The participating teams were Australia Lost at Sea (Kylie Forth, Kiara Parkinson, Erin McGlew, Del Kilcullen); French Freedom (Olivier Ducruix, Nicolas Rondouin, Fabienne Rassat, Gilles Guyon, Marine Clogenson); GBR 0% Risk (Jonny Cormack, Ian Shirra, Vic Sheen, Sally Rodrigues); GBR Gravity ( Jonny Stevenson, Steve Tylecote, Lucy Hodges, Toby Davey); GBR Barons (Colin Midgley, Gareth Robinson, Chris Albert, Martin Philips); GBR Challengers (Malcolm James, Sarah Featherstone, Pat Beukenholdt, Neil Brooks).
The teams faced varying weather conditions over the four days of unforgettable competition.
The training day allowed sailors to familiarise themselves with the boats, crucial for blind sailors who rely on heightened senses.
Despite the challenging weather, teams embraced the light winds on Friday, engaging in intense races.
GBR Gravity claimed an early lead, closely pursued by GBR Barons, ahead of Saturday action that brought stronger winds, presenting new challenges.
GBR Gravity continued their dominance, showcasing exceptional teamwork and strategic sailing.
The final day saw winds reaching 23 knots, testing the teams' abilities. All teams showed amazing boat handling skills and pushed each start looking for that lead and control from the gun.
GBR Gravity, with consistent wins and impeccable racing, emerged as the clear overall winners ahead of GBR Barons and GBR 0% Risk.
Overall helm winners were Vicki Sheen, Lucy Hodges and Chris Albert.