2017 Blind Championship Goes To Boston

August 10, 2017Keelboat, Yachts Standard

The Sheboygan Lakefront in Lake Michigan was the place where the 2017 Blind Fleet Racing North American and National Championship was held from the 16th  to 18th of June.

A total of four teams took part in this championship and entered into competitive racing.

This Blind fleet racing comprises of a team where two sailors are visually impaired or blind and they will be taking the role of the skipper and the main trimmer. They will have a sighted crew and a tactician to communicate with. The blind fleet race can be conducted just like a bodied race with the help of sighted crew. The Sheboygan event organizers also looked at using the sound marks to see if it provided a fair help to the sailors.   

A total of six races were held on the 2 days and the weather did not help the event. There were starts and stops due to high winds and fogs.

The regatta chairman Matt Wierzbach of SEAS said that it is not an easy thing to predict the kind of weather that you would be seeing on the Lake every day. The event organizers just had one thing in mind and that was to give enough chances for the teams to take part in the race. This time the weather was not on their side, but still, they managed to conduct five races on Friday. 

The first place of the event went to Boston United Blind Sailing that was represented by Pauline Dowell as the skipper and team members Leo Gaskell, Christina Thaxton and Grace Olsen. The second placed team was from the Blind Sailing Unlimited, Bay Area Assn. Of Disabled Sailors Association and team members were Kris Scheppe as skipper, Jim Thweatt, Juju Senfft and Katherine Kern.  The Boston skipper was very happy to have won the event.