I have just been asked if I want to go sailing off the south coast again with 'Blind Sailing Week', an annual event which gives sight impaired adults the chance to experience sailing on a large yacht for a full week at the beginning of July each year.
Grant, the organiser will be assuming that I already have it in my diary and the £200 cheque written out and signed in readiness, but this year, I am not going.
I have sailed with them for the last seven years and it has been an experience I would not have missed for the world, but for me, it is time for a change this year. I guess it's like anything nice or enjoyable, "you can have too much of a good thing".
That said, I cannot do anything but encourage other sight impaired people up for an adventure to have a go. It doesn't matter if you have never sailed before. There is no upper age limit and you do or learn as much or as little as you want.
About 40 sight impaired people and 60 or so able-bodied crew/boat owners take part using about 20 sleek ocean-going boats so it is a big event and is a great way to make new friends, as well as bringing a bit of excitement into your life.
My only reservation is that if you find close proximity to others awkward it may not be for you as you share a boat for a week with four other people. If you get on OK with most folk and have ever shared a caravan, you should be fine.
Crew are trained to help even fully blind people to participate fully in the sailing process so you won't ever feel unsafe or a spare part.
My four key sailing tips (learned from experience) are:
- Take a wide-rimmed hat that ties under the chin
- ALWAYS use sunscreen, particularly on the face and lips.
- Sea sickness tablets are a good idea.
- Wet wipes are FANTASTIC.