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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-17-2013 11:47 PM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

There was a legally blind couple who sailed the Pacific US/NZ about 5 years ago and did a blog on it. You might be able to track it down. I would have misgivings about it though.
There is a programme here where blind people regularly go out with a sighted person and race as I recall. I daresay there is a similar thing in the US, or by going to a Yacht club you may well find someone who will take you out and give you some experience.
05-17-2013 07:01 PM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

There was an interested story about a blind sailor who set off to cross the Atlantic starting in the Chesapeake Bay area on an Olson 30. I can't remember his name. After leaving Cape May, N.J., his boat was hit by lightening and he was forced to return. I never read the epilogue to the exploit. Apparently, he liked the Olson 30 because he was able to easily feel his way around the cabin without falling. You might be able to find his story in the archives of some newspaper of the time, about 20 years ago.

If you have the desire to sail, more power to you. You can use your other senses to make way.
05-17-2013 05:52 PM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

Bad hearing, yes. Bad eyesight, agreed, absolutely not. You don't want to die out there. A partner would be in order.

Best wishes.
05-17-2013 04:24 PM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

Traveling around by yourself? No. Not possible. Too many variables.
05-17-2013 03:31 PM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

Try contacting Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) at They're a non-profit whose mission is "making the thrill of sailing a reality for physically challenged individuals".

They may already have members who are blind and/or hearing impaired who could give you some advice even if you're not local to the Chesapeake Bay.

Best of luck,
05-17-2013 10:52 AM
Lady Adoryan
help with a new potential sailor

I hope you pursue your sailing dream. I know your available senses are more acute than most folks. Fair winds...
05-17-2013 10:18 AM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

Originally Posted by jephotog View Post
James where do you live?

You might get someone here willing to take you out or point you in the right direction, provided you left the indica behind.
I'm sure James is referring to the band and not the plant.

Best of luck, James.
05-17-2013 10:14 AM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

James where do you live?

You might get someone here willing to take you out or point you in the right direction, provided you left the indica behind.
05-17-2013 10:11 AM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

I think you would be able to get involved in sailing. I know here in San Diego there is a group specifically catering to taking people out with different handicaps to enjoy sailing. They have special boats that can be sailed by an experienced sailor while the learning sailor can step up and take on more roles as they learn and become comfortable. They also have an Transpac team that consists of boat where the entire crew has some sort of handicap.

I have often tried to sail without looking at the sails by the feel of the boat, but think hearing has something to do with the ability to feel how the boat reacts to the tiller and sail trim inputs. There are other physical inputs also that help though, like wind on the body, heal of the boat and tiller pressure.

I think the skills needed to sail could be overcome with your handicaps but as far as sailing solo you might have some problems with navigation and right of way rules. Many of the COLREG rules are based on right of way, maintaining a proper lookout and seeing and avoiding other boats. Without vision to see other boats or determine what type of boats they are, what they are doing, fishing, towing, starboard tack, you can not adequately provide a safe watch and determine right of way. There would also be some navigational challenges as you need to be able to spot landmarks, buoys and aids to navigation.

Here are some of the COLREGS describing the duties of the boater in terms of keeping a proper lookout and determining right of way.

5. Look-out
Every vessel must at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing, as well as by all available means in order to make a full assessment of the situation and risk of collision.

7. Risk of Collision
Vessels must use all available means to determine the risk of a collision, including the use of radar (if available) to get early warning of the risk of collision by radar plotting or equivalent systematic observation of detected objects. (e.g. ARPA, AIS).
If the distance of any vessel is reducing and her compass bearing is not changing much or it is a large vessel or towing vessel at close distance, or if there is any doubt, then a risk of collision shall be deemed to exist.[5]
05-17-2013 09:35 AM
Re: help with a new potential sailor

Indi - you could first try living on a boat tied in a marina to see how you like it. Then you can try venturing out of the marina for short trips. Baby steps rule, my friend!
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