Mark will sail for GB Blind Sailing team at world championships
MARK Austen, from Yate, has once again been chosen to represent Great Britain in the Blind Sailing World Championships in Canada.
A road accident over 20 years ago left Mark with less than 20% of his sight in one eye, but he has managed to continue to sail, a hobby he loved prior to the accident.
Mark is a helmsman and he has trained and sailed with the GB Blind Sailing team for four years. His role is to steer the yacht, working alongside a sighted tactician who isn’t allowed to have anything to do with sailing the boat. The sails are taken care of by a member of the crew who is visually impaired along with a sighted crew member.
Mark said: ”I am so proud to have been selected to race with the Great Britain team. When I started sailing with British Blind Sailing in 2015, I set myself the goal of representing GB at Blind Sailing in the World Sailing Championships for Blind and Partially Sighted people.”
All Mark’s training and racing has had to be self-funded, although he has had financial support from the Rotary Club of Chipping Sodbury. His participation in the World Championships in September will cost £2,500. Unable to work, he plays the saxophone at events and does public speaking to raise money.