Yate man tastes success with GB blind sailing team

August 30 2016

A man from Yate has sailed to victory with the Great Britain Blind Sailing Team at an International regatta on Lake Garda in Italy.

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A man  from Yate has sailed to victory with the Great Britain Blind Sailing Team at an International regatta on Lake Garda in Italy. 

Mark Austen from Yate was blinded in a road traffic accident 23 years ago but this hasn’t stopped him from competing in a sport he had already enjoyed before his accident. 

Eight teams took part in the regatta with two teams representing Great Britain dominating the series of round robins over four days. Mark sailed in GB1 with Lucy Hodges MBE and took control of the Jib Sail largely operating on sound and feel. 

The crews are made up of two totally Bind sailors using the acoustic sounds that mark out the triangular course and the opponents boat that makes a different noise depending on which tack they are on. 

Sailing is done by feeling the gusts and shifts in the wind and by making decisions using sound only. The B2 crews have slightly more sight but still have to sail using the sound made by the buoys.

The final saw GB1 and GB2 competing for Gold having already beaten the Italian Champions into 3rd place. 

A best of 3 legs final was finally balanced at one all after two races. The race for Gold was a close run thing with less than a boat length between the two boats at the last windward mark. GB 1 took 1st place by less than half a boat length.

Mark is currently fundraising to enable him to train and sail with the Great Britain Blind Sailing Team in preparation for three events in 2016/17

Mark plays the Saxophone to help with his Fundraising and can be contacted on 07885 909080, he also has a JustGiving page.