Last Friday 2 September, Tel Aviv was the venue for Israel's first ever Blind Sailing Championship. 21 year old Eitam ISRAELI proved to be the most successful of the competitors taking victory in the inaugural event.
Sailed in two-person Martin 16s with the blind sailor in the front seat and a fully sighted sailor in the rear, the event organizers used beeping buoys inspired by the Homerus System used at the International Match Racing Championship for Blind People held at Port Maurizio, Italy at the end of May. This system allows the blind sailor to be totally independent and in full control of the boat.
With winds of twelve knots and long four feet waves, the competitors enjoyed a great event that was watched on the water by 20 yachts sailed by ETGARIM (Israel Outdoor Sports and Recreation Association for the Disabled) sailors. More than 130 spectators were on the water for the event, 70% of which were disabled sailors.
The event was held in memory of Amir RUSO, a blind sailor who died in a tragic accident while enjoying ETGARIM cruising activity.