Silver Medal Success for Blind Sailor

November 01 2016

A blind sailor from Chipping Sodbury has claimed a silver medal at the Blind National Sailing Championship

Mark Austen

A blind sailor from Chipping Sodbury has claimed a silver medal at the Blind National Sailing Championship
GB Blind Sailor Mark Austen team skippered his boat to second place at the event in Cowes.  Eight yachts took part with each boat crewed by three blind sailors and a sighted tactician (whose role was solely to advise proximity of other boats, wind changes and time/distance between and after each tack.)
The event was a series of eight races. Each race lasted approximately 40 minutes and consisted of sailing two circuits of a figure of eight course.
At the end of the first day Mark had skippered his boat into first place with three wins out of five. On the final day, the crew were confident of success but things didn’t go quite according to plan.
In the first race the crew were hit by another boat as they approached the start line and lost valuable seconds, which put them in third. In race two they got to the start 20 seconds after the starting gun but they managed to fight their way through the fleet and after a series of very eventful tacks and jibes with the lead boat and crossed the line only 10 seconds behind them.  In the third and final race of the day they were first across the line at the start gun and were leading the fleets after the first two legs, on rounding the final mark they clipped the buoy and had to make two penalty turns, which put them in third place as they crossed the line.