An Experimental Appendix CBS for the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing has been developed for Blind Match Racing and is now available from the ISAF website.
The current Experimental Appendix CBS is a product of the match racing competitions conducted by the Homerus organisation in Italy that promotes autonomous blind sailing. Homerus has been organising international match racing events for blind and vision impaired sailors since 1999 using its innovative system of acoustic marks. Three buoys, each with a unique sound signal, set out the course and boats have their own acoustic signals which indicate port and starboard tack.
Based on the existing Appendix C, the Experimental Appendix provides variations for supplementary audio race signals and the role of the sighted observer on board the boats. The observers advise of overlaps, entering the zone and also warn about potential collisions. The document was first trialled in 2007 and most recently in the 2010 IFDS Blind Match Racing Championships held on Lake Garda in June.
Development of the Experimental Appendix has been coordinated by International Judge Roberto Armellin (ITA) with contributions from officials, coaches and competitors from a variety of nations and advice from Marianne Middelthon (NOR), a member of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee. It is expected that a submission to ISAF to formally adopt the Appendix will be presented to the 2011 ISAF Annual Conference.
"This is an exciting time for blind sailing
", said Linda Merkle, President of the International Association for Disabled Sailing at the recent ISAF Conference in Athens.
"Blind and vision impaired sailors are very active worldwide and IFDS has awarded three World Championships for blind sailors since 2006. Blind Sailing International provides a strong network integrated fleet racing, especially in the USA, New Zealand and Great Britain, and Homerus has been involving more and more countries in its autonomous match racing events. However, blind and vision impaired sailors have still been under-represented in the Paralympic Sailing Competition".
"IFDS is very pleased to be cooperating with ISAF to have the Experimental Appendix CBS included within the mainstream Racing Rules of Sailing. This provides a solid rules base in support of our application for a new Paralympic discipline
", she said.
In July, IFDS formally requested that the International Paralympic Committee introduce blind match racing as a new discipline within the Paralympic Sailing Competition commencing in 2016. While this is yet to be confirmed, the IFDS Blind Match Racing Championship next March will be the first opportunity that teams have to experience the proposed format.
Royal Perth Yacht Club has now released the Notice of Race for the IFDS Disabled Sailing International Championship, 2011, Homerus Blind Match Racing. The event will be held on the Swan River from March 19 to 26 2011.
The Championship will be sailed in Sonar keelboats using acoustic buoys to trial the proposed Paralympic event under Experimental Appendix CBS. A crew of three sailors classified as B1, B2 or B3 under the IBSA Classification System will make up teams with a collective maximum of 5 IBSA points. The helmsperson must be classification B1 and the gender is mixed, with a minimum of one female and one male team member.
The Experimental Appendix CBS can be downloaded from here
and comments are invited. Please send comments to the IFDS Secretariat