A Sonar racing during the IFDS Blind World Match Racing Championships.

A Sonar racing during the IFDS Blind World Match Racing Championships.

SEAS has become a world leader in the development of technology for blind and visually impaired sailors. We are delighted to be able to play such an important role in expanding this branch of the sailing family tree and we continue to work with blind and visually impaired sailors themselves to make the sport more accessible, enjoyable and competitive.

HOW IT WORKS

Visually impaired and blind sailors enjoy the experience of sailing much the same as those with full use of their vision, they simply rely more on their senses of sound and touch. Every small increase or decrease of pressure on a line or the changes in heel and direction of a boat plays an important factor in the experience of a visually impaired sailor. We aim to assist in the process of understanding what each of these small changes mean.

SOUND TECHNOLOGY

Part of what makes SEAS a leader in the visually impaired sailing community are our improvements on the sound marks used in visually impaired and blind racing. Just like sighted sailors, these races happen around a course marked by buoys in the water – the only difference is, these marks make noise. Lots and lots of noise. Watch the video for a brief explanation of the different sounds.

MATCH RACING

In the Match Racing events, where there are no sighted guides on board the boats and the racing is one-on-one, each boat also carries a sound box which emits a loud beeping noise. This helps the sailors identify where the other boat is, even though they may not be able to see them. Between the sound marks and the sound boxes on the boats, the visually impaired and blind sailors are able to create a mental image of the race course, and to an outside observer the boats racing appear no different than in a sighted race. It is truly an impressive experience to be a part of, and we are proud to continue hosting Blind Match Racing Clinics and Regattas to advance the sport.

If you would like more information on visually impaired and blind sailing, or assistance with attending or running an event, please contact us at info@seasheboygan.org.