THE world’s best visually-impaired sailors will compete in the waters off Helensburgh later this year, it was announced this week.

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, has chosen the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in Rhu to host the Blind Match Racing World Championship September 1-7 – the first time the championships have been held in British waters.

David Whitham, Commodore of the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club said: “We are delighted to have been selected by World Sailing to host the Blind Match Racing World Championship. As a club we regularly compete in, and host, international regattas but this will be the highest level of competition the club has hosted in recent times.

“Previous blind sailing worlds have attracted the very best sailors and we are really looking forward to welcoming teams from around the world to our club. Arrangements are already moving into place and our members are working hard to make it the best Blind Worlds ever.

“As a club we are committed to breaking down barriers and want to help make sailing accessible to as many people as possible.

“We believe this event can help us to inspire more people to take up sailing. We also want to create a legacy and ensure that the sport of blind sailing continues to grow here in Scotland.”

Massimo Dighe, Para World Sailing Manager at World Sailing said:

“World Sailing is thrilled that the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club will be hosting the 2018 edition of the Blind Match Racing World Championship and welcoming world class sailors to compete on their waters.”

“The club have made a wonderful commitment to grow blind sailing and inspire new sailors to take up the sport. This, coupled with world class facilities, makes them a perfect fit as hosts of this major event.

“I look forward to working with the organisers to deliver a memorable competition for the sailors, volunteers, the local community and the club.”

Vicki Sheen, Chairman of Blind Sailing International and 2016 Blind Match Racing World Champion said: “It has been great to work with such an enthusiastic club. The facilities, sailing area and boats pave the way for a top-class championship allowing highly competitive, visually-impaired sailors to showcase their skills. “

“2018 will be the first time this event has been hosted in the UK and we are confident that this will boost entries from Europe as well as teams from around the world.”

Laura Cammidge helmed Great Britain to Gold in the B3 category at the World Blind Sailing Championships in Sheboygan, USA in 2017. She said:

“I was thrilled to win Gold at the Blind Sailing World Championships in Sheboygan in 2017 as part of the Great Britain team and prove that with the right support anything is possible.

“It will be really cool to compete at a World Championship in home waters where I learnt to sail. Now that Scotland has been confirmed as the host nation for the 2018 Worlds I hope that it will encourage other Scots, who may not think of sailing as a sport they can take part in, to give it a go.”