Private, Focused, Effective Instruction in Sailing and Seamanship

Photo 1: Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge

Sailing Program for the Blind


The Marin Sailing School Program for the Blind provides blind or visually impaired persons the opportunity to learn the fundamental skills of sailing and the basic principles of seamanship. Our students learn to sail through the use of creative and adaptive methods in a hands-on, mainstream teaching environment. The objective is the same as for sighted sailors: to harness the wind and to experience all the challenges and rewards of sailing.

Successful sailors must become comfortable aboard ship, get well acquainted with all the equipment, fully understand how and why to trim the sails, and for some, learn to command the helm. With just a little guidance each of these skills can be developed successfully without vision. Through this, students build self-assurance to meet day-to-day challenges and enhanced confidence to try new things.


The Marin Sailing School Program for the Blind began in 2007 with a handful of students from the Living Skills Center for the Visually Impaired, now called The Hatlen Center for the Blind. The 2008 season also brought us the pleasure of coaching our first students from San Francisco’s Lighthouse for the Blind.

Having now instructed over 30 blind or visually impaired students, in 2009 we’re including adults, and some teenagers, from other Bay Area organizations serving our blind and visually impaired community, including the Lions Center for the Blind in Oakland.

If you are visually impaired and interested in sailing with us, please contact Danette Davis at or 510.847.6203.


And then there’s the racing! Our California One racing team participated in its first competition at the U.S. National Blind Sailing Regatta in August 2008, at Newport, Rhode Island. That same team joined eight sailors from Massachusetts to form Team USA for the 2009 Blind Sailing World Championships held in March at Lake Rotorua, New Zealand.

In August 2009, California One once again participated in the annual U.S. Blind Sailing National Championships at Newport, performing better than ever in an illustrious field of competitive sailboat racers.

In May 2010, the California One team and the Island Yacht Club organized, hosted, and raced in the first ever California International Blind Sailing Regatta in San Francisco Bay. The regatta attracted teams from California, Boston, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand.
Thumbnail of photo 1: Phil, a visually impaired sailor holding the boom Thumbnail of photo 2: Sailing team raacing at 2009 U.S. National Blind Sailing Championships in Rhode Island Thumbnail of photo 3: Blind student sailing under Golden Gate Bridge Thumbnail of photo 4: Visually impaired student learning to sail Thumbnail of photo 5: U.S. Blind Sailing Team, California One, at 2009 Blind Sailing World Championship in New Zealand Thumbnail of photo 6: Sailboats racing at the 2009 Blind Sailing World Championship in New Zealand
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