The History Of Blind Sailing International
Blind Sailing International History
Blind sailing on a worldwide scale was first initiated by the New Zealand Council for Sailing for Vision Impaired Persons, Auckland New Zealand. Headed by Mr. Colin Spanhake, this group organized the first international regatta for the blind in 1992, which later resulted in the formation of Blind Sailing International (BSI).
BSI was formally organized in 1994 at the second International Championships for the Blind, Fremantle, Australia. Colin Spanhake of Auckland, New Zealand, was the first elected BSI Chairman and the administration headquarters was located here.
The elections of new leaders in 1997 at the next world championships later moved administrative headquarters to Great Britain, under the chairmanship of Marsha Corper. Elections held in Miami, Fl, October, 1999 moved the leadership to Massachusetts, USA. Arthur O’Neill of USA-Massachusetts was named Chairman and Nancy Aronson of USA- Massachusetts was named Secretary/Treasurer. They were assisted by an Executive Board of Bugs Hughes representing Europe, Matt Chao of the United States representing the Americas, and Don Mason/Paul Barton representing Oceania.Arthur Oneill & Colin Spanhake.
2002 saw Arthur O’neill re-elected for a second term as chairman and Don Mason of New Zealand, who sailed as a sighted tactician in the first two championships, appointed as Secretary/Treasurer. Vicki Sheen, UK took over from Bugs Hughes as Eurpoe Rep while Matt Chao USA RI, and Paul Barton NZ retain the USA and Oceania representation.
In Newport Rhode Island 2006 Arthur O’Neill was reelected for a Third term as Chairman with Don Mason (NZL) Secretary Treasurer, Vicki Sheen (GBR) European Rep, Ralf Meiranke (JAP) Oceania Rep and Matt Chou (USA RI) as America’s Rep.
In 2009 at Rotorua, New Zealand Arthur O’Neill stepped down from the Chair and Don Mason of New Zealand was elected to fill the position. with David Brown (CAN) Secretary, Peg Hawkins (USA) Treasurer, Graeme Love (GBR) European Rep, Ralf Meiranke (JAP) Oceania Rep and Matt Chou (USA RI) as America’s Rep. IFDS prompted Blind Sailing to bid for a place in the 2016 Paralympic Games and a committee under the leadership of Arthur O’Neill was elected.
There have been seven worldwide blind sailing regattas conducted: 1992 Auckland, New Zealand; 1994 Fremantle, Australia; 1997 Weymouth, England and 1999 Miami, Florida, USA, 2002 Gargnano Lake Garda Italy, 2006 Newport Rhode Island and 2009, Rotorua, New Zealand. The staus of the regattas changed from International regattas to World championship regattas in 2002 when IFDS first sanctioned the event as a World Blind Sailing Championship.
The number of countries participating in BSI regattas has grown from 5 countries in 1992 to 14 countries/States in 1999. Next Regatta is September 2013 in Japan and we anticipate continued growth and expansion. As each country/self governing state is allowed to submit a crew in each of three Blind Sport (IBSA) vision categories, any one country could possibly include three crews in their entry, further increasing the number of blind sailors participating.
|Colin Spanhake |
|Marsha Corper |
|Arthur O’Neill |