A local sailor has helped the Great Britain Blind Sailing team retain their World Champion Status.
Jonny Cormack, from Milnthorpe was selected to go to the Blind Fleet Racing World Championships in Kingstn, Ontario, Canada. Jonny is a sighted Tactician for the GBR B3 Team. His role is to guide the team of two visually impaired sailors and one other sighted around the race course without actually touching any of the boats controls. Both the helm and the main sail are controlled by visually impaired people. Jonny is assisted by a sighted crew who controls the jib sail at the front of the boat.
Jonny’s sighted crew is Jonny Stevenson, the two were first introduced together when they worked at Windermere Outdoor Adventure Centre together back in 2012. They have now sailed at 4 world championships together, proving a very successful pairing. They were joined by Liam Cattermole (Helm) and Chris Albert (crew) to make up the team of 4.
The World Championship consists of 3 fleets of different sight categories: B1 with no sight, B2 with very low level useful vision and B3 with a small amount of useful vision. Teams from all over the world compete in the event including; USA, Canada, Japan and France. The overall World Championship is given to the country that scores best over the 3 fleets. GBR managed Bronze in B1, Gold in B2 and Silver in B3. This gave GBR the title with Canada coming in in second place.
Jonny says; “This was a great event, the pressure was on to retain our World Champion Status. Our fleet was fought close between us and the Canadians. They managed to beat us in the end but we jostled for first place all week over 15 races. The Canadians local knowledge of the boats and winds on Lake Ontario gave them the edge in the end. We have been training hard for this event, using Windermere as one of the venues to get the team used to Lake Sailing Conditions. Coming away with silver and competing for gold shows we are up there with the best. Contributing to the overall teams World Title is awesome.”
Jonny has been involved with GBR Blind Sailing for over 20 years. He has worked his way from a shore volunteer to competing at the World championships, gaining two silvers and one gold previously. He now adds another silver to this impressive list of awards. All his time is volunteered and the charity work hard to gain funding and sponsorship to keep costs to a minimum. Behind the scenes Jonny works hard training, both for himself and the rest of the squad. Giving up 100’s of hours each year, travelling around the country to training camps and also utilising the Outdoor Centre he manages on Windermere as a training venue, Windermere Outdoor Adventure Centre.
Lucy Hodges MBE, Commodore and competitor for GBR Blind Sailing adds: “A year ago we started the selection of the team who would represent GBR. As a small charity it is thanks to our volunteers that run training sessions and club’s that proved faculties such as Windermere Outdoor Adventure, with out this support we would not be able to get so many Visually Impaired out on the water. Team work, communication, trust and commitment are key to the charity and key to the team becoming 2019 Blind Fleet Racing World Champions. Thank you all that supported.”
For more information on GBR Blind Sailing visit www.gbrblindsailing.co.uk