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Ahoy! Oldham sailor joins blind crew on yacht race from London to Dorset Olympic site

By Dean Wilkins

A courageous crew of visually impaired sailors from Oldham are taking to the seas to race a yacht from London to Dorset’s Olympic sailing venue.

Three men are crewing the James Cook in support of Action For Blind People (Action) in the Small Yacht Race 2012, set up by the Ocean Youth Trust which aims to get more people sailing.

Oldham-born Brett Johnson will join Stephen Ball and Danny Grant, along with five other crewmates, many of whom are also blind or partially sighted on the challenge.

John Turnbull, from Action, said: “We’ve got a team of eight enthusiastic young people, ready for a challenge and determined to win.

“At Action, we aim to help young people with sight loss develop socially, learn new skills and increase their confidence.

“Team building, fun and a competitive environment are perfect ingredients to make this happen and in an Olympic year, the event allows them to prove that sight loss isn’t a barrier to living your dreams.”

Mr Ball has virtually no sight and Action is helping him use assistive technology to allow him to live an independent life.

He said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m really excited about the challenge, learning new skills and teaming up with the crew, hopefully sailing to a famous victory.”

The five-day race celebrates the Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics and involves three stages: team initiation, preparation of the yacht, and the race itself.

The race starts on June 11. To support the charity please visit here.

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