Continuing the clock analogy… 12 o’clock. Wind on the nose = NoGo. 2 or 10. Wind on the cheekbone = Close haul. 3 or 9 = Wind straight on the ear or shoulder = Beam reach. 5 or 7. Wind behind the ear = Broad reach. 6. Wind directly on the back = Dead downwind. Jibe ho!
At some point, any experienced sailor stops looking at landmarks and just feels the wind. Without visual indicators, sailors who are blind feel wind from day one. Sometimes it helps to describe wind as numbers on a clock face. Ask your class to point to the wind. That’s 12 o’clock. Have them turn around, so the wind is at their back. That’s 6. Ask your students where they feel the wind… On the face – does the wind feel faster? Cooler? Back of neck – does it feel slower? Warmer?
Adding tactile cues to help a beginning sailor can be as simple as… Braille labels. Textured lines. Labels that identify lines while hanging on the cuddy are fine. But at some point, those lines will be in the cockpit. Just as sighted sailors use color to quickly identify lines, various textures can help sailors who are visually impaired. Depending on the boat, it may not be necessary to purchase all-new lines. Try splicing the textured line onto the existing line – you could find you only need to add new lines for the last few feet. Clutches and cleats. Consider opportunities to replace a cleat with a clutch. Then add textured material to the clutch arms to help distinguish each.