Viewing entries tagged
Blind Sailing

Leadership Sheboygan County Group supports SEAS

For one the groups that recently graduated from the Leadership Sheboygan County program through the Sheboygan County Chamber, they decided to support SEAS for their group project.  The group, Bailey Dolson, Jeremy Dekker, Chris Weber and Amanda Ehlenbeck, researched several organizations to support and felt the needs at SEAS with it's Adaptive Sailing program was a great fit. After reviewing many options on how they could best raise the most money with the least amount of expense, so more funds come back to the program, they set up a Go Fund Me page which they will promote to reach their goal of $5000.  The amount is designed to provide scholarships to individuals with an interest in learning about sailing, to teach them about sailing and ultimately having them sail.

You can help them reach their goal by sharing this post with your friends and making a contribution yourself.  A little goes a long way, especially when SEAS goal of having 100+ people with adaptive needs learn about sailing and/or sail this summer.

HELP THIS GROUP REACH THEIR GOAL BY HELPING THOSE WITH NEEDS ENJOY THE SAILING EXPERIENCE!

GoFundMeSEAS

 

Blind Match Racing Clinic

November 22, 2015 San Francisco, CA - The Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan (SEAS) teamed up with Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS), the Women’s International Match Racing Association (WIMRA), and Blind Sailing Unlimited to hold the first Blind Match Racing Clinic in the United States using the Homerus acoustic mark system. The clinic was run to introduce visually impaired sailors to the blind match racing discipline and to help encourage participation at the 2016 ISAF Blind Match Racing World Championship to be held in Sheboygan in September 2016 in conjunction with the 2016 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship.

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The discipline of blind match racing is unique within the world of visually impaired sailing as the three visually impaired sailors match race against another team with no sighted assistance onboard. They navigate the course through the use of the Homerus Autonomous Sailing System which consists of three acoustic buoys, each emitting a unique sound signal while each boat has its own sound signal that changes when on port or starboard tack.  Through these audible clues the sailors not only make their way around the course but also engage each other in classic match racing style. Sheboygan hosted the Plenco Blind Match Racing World Championship in 2014 and with the success of that event  SEAS looked to increase participation in the discipline by introducing more sailors to the acoustic system.

 

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Of the seven blind sailors and three sighted guides who participated in this weekend’s clinic only one sailor, Blind Sailing Unlimited's, Kris Scheppe, had sailed in a blind match racing event before. “At the Worlds in 2014, I kind of jumped in the deep end having never done a match race before and I went right into a race situation. It was overload and I was kind of hanging by the seat of my pants for that. So, playing with the buoys on land first as we did here and then going to water has been a great way to introduce new sailors to the game” Kris commented after the clinic. Blind Sailing Unlimited owns the set of Homerus marks used at the event, one of only three sets in the United States, SEAS owns another of the three.

 

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All who attended saw improvement in abilities over the three day course which began with land drills and familiarization with the acoustic marks and progressed over the clinic with drills designed to work up to full match races. By Sunday the sailors were battling in the prestarts with limited input from the coaches and racing around the course. While not all the participants felt quite ready for a full match racing regatta, they did come to understand just how possible it was sail without the aid of sight. “It’s fantastic to see how much the sailors improved and gained confidence with only a few days training. By the end of the weekend they were definitely match racing out there and that was really cool to see“ said Liz Baylis, WIMRA Executive Director and clinic coach.

 

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The SEAS team of Executive Director Rich Reichelsdorfer and Program Director Matt Wierzbach, who flew in for the event, were also happy with the progress made at the event. "I am quite happy with the outcome of our first blind match racing clinic," Reichelsdorfer said. "The competitors all seemed quite happy with the program and by the end of clinic, we had them engaging each other and match racing. It is really great to be able to get visually impaired people into match racing and watching them take to it and get excited about sailing without any help from a sighted guide." Wierzbach added, "this is a great step toward increasing participation in an event that really lets the visually impaired sail without being told what to do by a sighted guide; they have control over their sailing."

 

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After the success of this first event, plans are in progress to recreate the event in different locations around the United States and internationally. Blind match racing can be an empowering activity for those with a visual impairment as the sailors realize they are able to compete at a highly competitive level without the aid of sighted guides.

 

ABOUT SEAS

SEAS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your contributions are recognized and are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the United States Tax Code. Thank you for supporting SEAS mission.

Mission

The Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan exists to establish Sheboygan’s waterfront and boating programs as best in class for offerings and facilities, while enhancing our county’s already stellar attractions.

Vision

SEAS works to advance the sailing and water sport facilities on Sheboygan’s waterfront and marine education generally in order to provide more services at a reasonable cost.  We strive to maximize the impact of our donors’ dollars by expanding awareness, training, and opportunities in marine and conservation activities through education and strategic outreach.  SEAS also provides financial assistance to similarly engaged non-profit organizations.

Contact: Matt Wierzbach

mattw@seasheboygan.org

(920) 918-9204

Recap of the 2015 Blind Fleet Racing World Championship

 

The team struggled on Sunday as the breeze was considerably lighter and we had to contend with large wind shifts. At one point a race was abandoned after a series of significant shifts completely turned the fleet around.

 

The British team did well in the lighter conditions and worked their way up on us in the points until we slipped into third. After a near collision with the New Zealand team we began to sail defensively knowing they were near enough to begin attacking us when the opportunity arose. Unfortunately by the time we had begun to dial in the tuning for the lighter conditions the races were abandoned for the day.

 

As a team we are very proud of our performance. This was BJ's first regatta and only second year of sailing and while Jason has been sailing for decades this was also his first regatta above club level. The training we did in August certainly made a difference and our crew work was solid considering our short time sailing together. We are extremely proud to take home a bronze medal and second place in the Squadron Cup.

 

- Matt Wierzbach, Tactician

 

Cumulative Results

Squadron Cup Results

From left: Jason Berdyck, BJ Blahnik, Matt Wierzbach, Kris Scheppe

 

Blind Worlds Update #6 September 12, 2015

bw2015 Saturday was a no go for racing. The weather was too rough.

Today is looking good if not a little light. Two more races needed for a throw out

Matt Wierzbach, Tactician

 

 

Check out this report from WBEZ Chicago

And another from Scuttlebutt Sailing News

bwc

 

For more information please visit these links:

2015 IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship Entries

 

SEAS USA  Team

Crew Info


Name Position ISAF Country

Jason Berdyck Headsail Trimmer Group 1 USA
BJ Blahnik Main Trimmer Group 1 USA
Kris Scheppe Helm Group 1 USA
Matthew Wierzbach Tactician USA

 

Blind Worlds Update #5 September 11, 2015

bw2015 Our team is in second place in category 3 after the first five races in strong breeze and wavy conditions. The conditions were so rough we had issues with water filling in the hull and all have bumps and bruises but we preformed well and look forward to the next few days.

We are also in first place for the Squadron Cup which consists of the best national team overall between the 3 categories. We are on one of two U.S. Teams competing for that title.

We rounded out the night with some more Chicago deep dish pizza and are all ready for an early night.

- Matt Wierzbach, Tactician

 

For more information please visit these links:

2015 IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship Entries

 

SEAS USA  Team

Crew Info


Name Position ISAF Country

Jason Berdyck Headsail Trimmer Group 1 USA
BJ Blahnik Main Trimmer Group 1 USA
Kris Scheppe Helm Group 1 USA
Matthew Wierzbach Tactician USA

Blind Worlds Update #4 September 10, 2015

bw2015 This morning had a great start with a promising breeze and clear skies but just as the warning signal was to be raised the AP appeared instead and the races were postponed. We waited as the Race Committee dealt with challenging conditions and ultimately storms have kept us off the water. The races have been canceled for the day. The forecast looks like a variety of conditions moving forward.

 

Chicago Weather Radar 9/10/2015

 

The pressure is off until tomorrow, now its time to head into town and waste some time as tourists.

 

- Matt Wierzbach, Tactician

The Sail Sheboygan Sonars sitting in the rain.

 

For more information please visit these links:

2015 IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship Entries

 

SEAS USA 121 Team

Crew Info


Name Position ISAF Country

Jason Berdyck Headsail Trimmer Group 1 USA
BJ Blahnik Main Trimmer Group 1 USA
Kris Scheppe Helm Group 1 USA
Matthew Wierzbach Tactician USA

Blind Worlds Update #3 September 9, 2015

bw2015 We had a great day of practice on the water. The winds were variable starting out strong and easing off as the day progressed which helped us experience a variety of conditions. We are seeing the typical choppy conditions that Chicago is famous for.

We also picked up our jackets this morning!

"SEAS Adaptive Sailing Team" Jackets have arrived and the team models them at the event!

The opening ceremonies were great and the Chicago Yacht Club had a nice burger and hot dog buffet laid out. Now its time for the real racing to start. We are looking forward to tomorrow!

 

- Matt Wierzbach, Tactician

 

For more information please visit these links:

2015 IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship Entries

 

SEAS USA 121 Team

Crew Info


Name Position ISAF Country

Jason Berdyck Headsail Trimmer Group 1 USA
BJ Blahnik Main Trimmer Group 1 USA
Kris Scheppe Helm Group 1 USA
Matthew Wierzbach Tactician USA

 

BJ Interviewed by RedEye Chicago

bw2015 Sheboygan sailor BJ Blahnik conducted an interview with RedEye Chicago yesterday before practice.

Here is what he had to say: RedEye Chicago

BJ Blahnik and Matt Wierzbach prepare for practice.

 

For more information please visit these links:

2015 IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship Entries

 

SEAS USA 121 Team

Crew Info


Name Position ISAF Country

Jason Berdyck Headsail Trimmer Group 1 USA
BJ Blahnik Main Trimmer Group 1 USA
Kris Scheppe Helm Group 1 USA
Matthew Wierzbach Tactician USA

 

Blind Worlds Update # 2 September 8, 2015

bw2015 September 8, 2015

 

Shortly after my first post we managed to get out on the water for our first taste of sailing the Tom 28. We started slow at the dock familiarizing ourselves with the boat, BJ and Kris feeling everything in their section of the boat to prepare for our time on the water.

 

The Tom 28s are a more performance oriented boat than the Sonar and getting used to the layout and heel took a bit of time. The sail area is also larger which will take some small adjustment moving forward. Luckily none of the teams are overly familiar with the boats and the extra room in the cockpit makes the movement of four sailors slightly less like a round of bumper cars than in the Sonar cockpit.

 

We did a bit of speed testing with four of the Tom’s out in a formation. We are confident we can do well with our speed and its looking likely that good starts and roundings are going to make the difference just like in any other race. What I’ve learned from sailing with the blind teams is that we have to stop thinking of it as a different form of sailing; the sailing is the same and the changes for safety are really minor and have more to do with avoiding collisions than anything.

 

After the required Chicago deep dish pizza for dinner we made a quick stop at Target to pick up a few snacks and ran into our big fan Chewbacca who is looking forward to his new movie release.

 

Chewbacca cheers on the team.

Chewbacca cheers on the team.

 

For more information please visit these links:

2015 IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship Entries

 

SEAS USA 121 Team

Crew Info


Name Position ISAF Country

Jason Berdyck Headsail Trimmer Group 1 USA
BJ Blahnik Main Trimmer Group 1 USA
Kris Scheppe Helm Group 1 USA
Matthew Wierzbach Tactician USA

Blind Worlds Update #1 September 8, 2015

  bw2015

 

 

 

After registration the team signs some banners.

Belmont Station Chicago Yacht Club- We have arrived at Belmont Station and have registered this morning. The staff and volunteers have been great and we snuck a short interview in on one of the Sonars with RedEye Chicago before the storms rolled in. Right now we are waiting to see if the storm passes through early enough for us to get some practice on the Tom 28s. If not we still have a practice day tomorrow and the forecast is looking nice.

 

Rumor has it they are releasing the boats in 10 minutes, we may get out today yet! Matt Wierzbach, Tactician

Screen shot of the radar!!!

 

For more information please visit these links:

2015 IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship Entries

 

SEAS USA 121 Team

Crew Info


Name Position ISAF Country

Jason Berdyck Headsail Trimmer Group 1 USA
BJ Blahnik Main Trimmer Group 1 USA
Kris Scheppe Helm Group 1 USA
Matthew Wierzbach Tactician USA

 

Sail Sheboygan Co-Hosting 2015 Blind Racing in Chicago

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Chicago to Host 2015 Blind World Fleet Racing Championship

Chicago Yacht Club, Chicago Match Race Center, Sail Sheboygan to Co-Host Regatta in September

 

CHICAGO (April 3, 2015) – The Chicago Yacht Club, along with Sail Sheboygan and the Chicago Match Race Center, will host the 2015 Blind World Fleet Racing Championship from September 9-13.

 

After it was announced that the 2015 Blind World Fleet Racing Championship in Houston was canceled, these three organizations worked closely with Blind Sailing International to bring the event to Chicago for the first time.

 

“We here at the Chicago Yacht Club are fortunate to have nearby likeminded partners like Sail Sheboygan and the Chicago Match Race Center who are committed to providing venues for disabled sailing,” said Chicago Yacht Club Commodore Greg Miarecki. “We want to see events like this succeed, and we worked quickly to bring the Blind World Fleet Racing Championship to Chicago in 2015. We look forward to welcoming some of the best sight-impaired racers from all over the world to the shores of Lake Michigan this September.”

 

The 2015 Blind World Fleet Racing Championship event will bring the world’s top sight-impaired sailors to compete in four days racing out of Chicago Yacht Club’s Belmont Station. The last fleet race worlds in the U.S. was hosted by the New York Yacht Club in 2006.

 

“This has been an amazing feat of organization between three prestigious and highly experienced sailing centers,” said Vicki Sheen, chairwoman of Blind Sailing International. “We are really looking forward to coming back to the USA. The event will be critical to supporting the expansion of blind sailing and giving the opportunity for other blind sailors to develop their skills and join us.”

 

The event will host approximately 20 teams from all over the world — three teams from five to seven countries— to Chicago. The teams will sail in three divisions: Blind 1, Blind 2 and Blind 3. Each team sails with a sighted tactician/coach and may also have coach boats on the water.

 

As co-hosts, the Chicago Match Race Center and Sail Sheboygan are helping by providing boats and staff help to run the regatta. Competitors will race in Sonars and Tom 28s.

 

“The Chicago Match Race Center is excited to partner with the Chicago Yacht Club and Sail Sheboygan to bring this fantastic event to the Windy City,” said Tod Reynolds, director of the Chicago Match Race Center. “This will be a must-attend world championship for the adaptive sailing community with immaculately maintained boats and professional race management all hosted in the heart of one of the world's must-visit cities.”

 

For more information, please visit the Chicago Yacht Club website. Interested sponsors may contact the Chicago Yacht Club.

 

About the Chicago Yacht Club

The Chicago Yacht Club has been part of the Chicago boating community since it was founded in 1875. Today, CYC is the premier social and racing destination for Chicago boaters and is ranked as one of the top 10 yacht clubs in the U.S. by the Platinum Club of America. A membership of 1,400 boating enthusiasts plan and participate in dozens of social, educational and racing events held throughout the year at our Monroe and Belmont stations — both located on Chicago’s iconic lakefront. There are opportunities for every member of the family to find something to enjoy at the Chicago Yacht Club. Learn more at chicagoyachtclub.org.

 

Media Contact

communications@chicagoyachtclub.org

312-861-7772