North Sails LOFT NEWS

Story Contributors: George Jackson

INSPIRED RACING. EMPOWERED RESULTS.

Blind Sailing Worlds 2019

If you think you are up for a challenge, try this the next time you go racing. Put a blindfold on your skipper and jib trimmer before the start of a race. If you somehow manage to avoid a collision in the first four minutes, the prospect of making the starting line let alone making it around the first mark of the course are dim.

This past September, Kingston Yacht Club welcomed fourteen teams from 6 nations at the World Championships for Blind Fleet racing — the first Blind Worlds hosted in Canada. The regattas high profile garnered the attention amongst many, Kingston’s mayor and provincial member of the legislature, beginning with the opening ceremonies and all through the week of racing. Club members, family and media jumped onto spectator boats to be treated by all the action. 

Watching blind and visually impaired sailors take their sighted crew around a windy, wavy racecourse is inspiring. Made more impressive since the Shark, at 24 feet, is a tight ship for a crew of four adults (two sighted crew to call tactics and trim the main ONLY) with no lifelines.

Approached by the race organizers, North Sails supplied the 150% genoas for the chartered Sharks. It was an honour to be a part of this transformative event. Most of the top sighted crews race Sharks with 180% genoas even in the windiest conditions. For crews new to Sharks, as almost all these teams were, the 150% genoas can be a handful in 12 knots true or more. The fleet of Sharks were equalized as much as possible with the Dacron 150% genoas as an excellent middle ground; capable of powering the boats through all the wind and wave conditions Kingston offered up. 

The on-water racing was as intense as you will find anywhere. The adaptive skills and competitive drive of this group of sailors were only matched by their outgoing friendliness and camaraderie. Trans-formative was the common refrain from so many of the 70 volunteers. Fun was the word used by competitors. Noted repeatedly was how sailing and racing empowered these athletes to rise above their visual challenges. 

At the recent Sail Canada Awards Gala, in recognition of the fantastic effort put forth by the race organizers, officials, and the host club volunteers, Sail Canada selected the Blind Worlds as the top regatta in the country for 2019. 

Discover all Shark sails available from North Sails here.

Story Contributors

Inspired Racing. Empowered Results. headshot
George Jackson

Kingston Area Representative, Sail Expert — Toronto, Ontario

Kingston, Ontario Area Representative