This September will see two teams from Great Britain take part in the 2018 World Match Racing Championships hosted by Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in conjunction with World Sailing.
It has been a long winter of selection with training being held up and down the county; sailors have put in a lot of effort to take up the training seeing all skill levels grow. Thanks to Morrison and Foster for providing the funding to start the year’s training along with Superyacht UK and Maritime Skills Academy.
You may ask what is Blind Match Racing? Well it is all done by acoustic sound, and the sailors use their knowledge and feel. At the seven minute gun, the sighted support steps off the boat, leaving the sailors to navigate their way around the course by sound, each mark making a unique sound and each boat making two separate sounds to identify which track they are on. Using the sounds each team looks to get penalties against their opponent, no different from that of able-bodied Match Racing.
2018 will see Lucy Hodges MBE and Liam Cattermole look to become three-time World Match Racing Champions, this year joined by Sharon Grennan at the helm. Lucy says: “It is an honour to be selected alongside my team members, to have won the Worlds twice is a dream with Liam beside me and to get
the chance to defend our title in our home country is an honour.
“In the background, so much hard work and time from our volunteers and coaches give us the skills and knowledge to be able to compete at this level and we look to do them and our sponsors proud. It is also thanks to Royal Northern and Clyde for hosting this event.”
Sharon is bringing experience to the team after her success in the B1 division at the Blind Fleet Racing Championships. Liam is back with the team after winning Gold at the 2016 Match Racing Worlds. He recently took a break from racing where he enjoyed sailing around the coast of Europe but Liam is back now to take his place on the main.
Great Britain is also entering a second team, with three sailors selected to represent GBR for the first time in this event. Sally Rodrigues takes to the helm after winning Silver at the 2017 Blind Fleet Racing Worlds. This is a change in role but one Sally is keen to undertake. She will be alongside Eddie Kitchen on the mainsheet- Eddie is deaf-blind but a true inspiration of how feel and time on the water can give you a great understanding of
sailing. Eddie has sailed hundreds of miles and during 2018 he focused on racing using a new microphone system that allows the crew to talk directly to him. They will be joined by Laura Cammidge who will be sailing on home waters.
It is with thanks to Sunseeker International Limited and Ben Hazeldine for sponsoring the team.
Story by Lucy Hodges for sail-world.com