posted at 21:50
Author Name: Wojtek Radwanski
Blind sailors set their sights on the Mediterranean
The 59-year-old Pole is blind and is steering the "Kapitan Borchardt" on the Mediterranean Sea with the help of a talking global positioning programme. "I love sailing at night. The sound of the waves, the smell of the sea," says Koralewska, a psychologist and masseuse from the Polish city of Opole. Koralewska boarded the Polish schooner at the Spanish seaport of Alicante along with around 30 others from Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland - half of them blind or visually impaired. It is the brainchild of the Polish foundation Imago Maris, which provides visually impaired individuals with the chance to experience the sea and meet people from around the world. "Blind people are often withdrawn. Here they open up to others, they feel part of a group. We notice the change sometimes at the end of the trip," says Maciej Sodkiewicz, captain of the schooner and vice-president of Imago Maris. "The blind crewmembers are required to be 100 percent involved," says the professional sailor whose mother is almost blind "But lives a normal life, prepares dinner for the whole family and keeps the house in order". "I enjoyed the raging sea and the wind. It's a great feeling," says German crewmember Sebastian Barschneider. She says blind people experience the sea differently: "Through smell, be it humid or salty or hinting of seaweed. Through sound, like the lapping of the waves against the hull when I'm lying on my bunk or the noise of the fluttering sails. Through touch: the halyards are more worn out than the sheets."

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