New Zealand blind sailors are listed as World Sailing Champions, and to date have won ten gold, four silver and three bronze medals in six previous World Blind Sailing Championships. The most recent event was held in 2013 hosted by Seabornia Yacht Club, Japan, where New Zealand placed 1st (B3), 2nd (B2) and 6th (B1).
Now our blind sailors are off to Chicago, where they hope to uphold New Zealand’s sailing reputation and secure more medals when they compete at the 2015 IFDS World Blind Sailing Fleet Racing Championships, from 9 to 13 September 2015.
The offer to host this year's world championships from the Chicago Yacht Club came only a few months ago, leaving very little time to prepare and fundraise.
After a short selection process, Blind Sailing New Zealand announced the team of blind and vision impaired sailors to compete in Chicago. They are:
Russell Lowry, B1 Helm, Wanganui Sailing Club, Whanganui.
Jonathan Godfrey, B1 Mainsheet, Palmerston North.
Dave Allerton, B2 Helm, Waitara Boating Club, Waitara.
Dave Parker, B2 Mainsheet, Waihi.
Ben Geddes, B3 Helm, Tauranga.
Rachel Shardlow, B3 Mainsheet, Northcote Birkenhead Yacht Club, Auckland.
Four of these sailors have competed successfully at previous World Championships and the two new sailors have competitive histories in other areas of sailing.
The sighted tactician and crew for each for each team have also been named: They are:
Ian Perry, B1 Tactician, Wanganui Sailing Club, Whanganui
Philip Paterson, B1 Sighted Crew, Wanganui Sailing Club, Whanganui
Terry Valder, B2 Tactician, Auckland
Michael Cox, B2 Sighted Crew, Auckland
Brian Trubovich, B3 Tactician, Ponsonby Cruising Club, Auckland
James Russell, B3 Sighted Crew, Auckland