2014 Plenco IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championship
Sail Sheboygan and the US Sailing Center—Sheboygan have released a Notice of Race and plans are well underway for the Plenco IFDS Disabled Sailing World Blind Match Racing Championship. The regatta will take place on the waters of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, WI, USA beginning with opening ceremonies on September 09, 2014 and ending with the final race, awards and closing ceremonies September 14, 2014.
Six teams from five different nations are expected to represent their respective countries of Australia, Great Britain,
Italy, USA, and Canada, Each team is made up of a crew of three sailors, each classified as B1 or B2 blind competing for the World Championship—the second competition ever to be held with no sighted coach on board.
The race course will be set up on the waters of Lake Michigan just offshore at Sheboygan. The match race format is a round robin competition in which two teams race head-to-head in equally matched Sonar keelboats equipped with the Homerus® Autonomous Sailing system. Buoys with a unique sound signal mark the course and each boat has its own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack. This will be the first time that Sheboygan, Wisconsin or even the USA has been the proud hosts of this World Blind event.
In 2010, IFDS made application to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to introduce blind match racing as a new discipline in Paralympic Games in 2016. The IPC decided that no additional disciplines would be added in 2016, but the application can be resubmitted for consideration for the Tokyo 2020 Games, and the program decisions will be made this October.
The week-long event promises excitement and opportunity as athletes with restricted vision use their senses, their skills, and match racing rules to out-strategize and out-race their competitors. Partnerships with organizations such as The Lion’s Clubs, SEAS and Blue Harbor allow us to offer spectator areas to view the action and opportunities to experience Sheboygan known as the ‘Spirit on the Lake’. In addition to a friendly and inviting community, Sheboygan offers great accommodations, incredible dining, a variety of recreation, educational and cultural activities, and an easily accessible and incredibly scenic waterfront, that was an official Olympic training ground for the Women’s Match Racing event in the 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth, England.
In addition to the clean and efficient mass transit system, the Lakefront Metro, operated by the Sheboygan Chamber of Commerce will provide a trolley service to transport racers, their families and spectators from area hotels to the waterfront, race course and other points of interest. To stay up-to-date on the latest developments, visit us often at seasheboygan.org/blindmatchracing or sailsheboygan.org or join our mailing list.