Last weekend 11 visually impaired sailors marked Marin Sailing School Program for the Blind’s 10th year anniversary with a BBQ at TISC. Afterwards, volunteers, J/24s, Clipper Cove and SF Bay delivered smiles all around. You’re invited to create smiles too!
Philip Kum, Al Spector, and Danette Davis founded the Visually Impaired sailing program back in 2007, first sailing out of Sausalito. In 2012 they partnered with Treasure Island Sailing Center. On June 18th they celebrated ten years of launching new horizons for VI sailors.
Now in its 10th year the program provides opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired to learn the fundamental skills of sailing and the basic principles of seamanship. These students – soon to be sailors – learn to sail through the use of creative and adaptive methods in a hands-on, mainstream teaching environment.
The objective is the same as for sighted sailors: to harness the wind and to experience all the challenges and rewards of sailing. Learning to sail a boat, the physics of sailing, and the equipment used on board, builds self-assurance to meet day-to-day challenges and enhances confidence to try new things.
Clipper Cove, with its protected area, lack of current and steady winds, provides an excellent launching point. The TISC J/24 fleet is an excellent boat for the program – stable yet responsive. With common deck layout and rigging across the boats.
Each day starts with a discussion of the day plan, then an on-boat orientation. Here are photos from the May 21st and June 18 sailing days.
These sailors have a wide range of experience from just learning to those who have raced in events worldwide from Newport, RI to Rotorua, New Zealand. So the easy access from Clipper Cove to SF Bay is another bonus for the TISC location.
The program counts on an all-volunteer staff for each day of sailing. Interested? Two simple requirements to participate in this great program. You must be:
- Comfortable as an instructor on a J/24, the boats used for the program here at TISC.
- Willing to engage and focus on basic principles including the etiquette of working with visually people who are blind and visually impaired, communications and giving directions.
All these skills can be learned by attending a volunteer training day, or reading the EXCELLENT manual put together by Philip, Al, & Danette then “shadowing” another instructor for one of the volunteer sessions. So easy !
Upcoming VI sailing days at TISC are: 7/16, 8/20, 9/17, and 10/8. The program starts at 10 am and runs until 3pm.
Please contact Luxine Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) at TISC if you have further questions or would like to spend a day you will likely remember as “a great, rewarding day – making new friends, giving back, learning something new and feeling really proud of helping others share the joys of sailing”.
You’re Invited !
Regards from On The Cove, Dave G
In the wake:
A HUGE HUGE tip of the hat to Brian Hill for the photos from the May 21st VI sailing day and Al Spector and Danette Davis for the photos from last weekend’s BBQ and sail. And to the staff at TISC for launching the J/24 fleet used by the VI sailing program.
In addition to a very complete VI sailing manual put together by Philip, Al, and Danette, here are other excellent resources: