September 29th, 2016

Chris wins silver in blind sailing contest

Updated: 5:39 pm, Oct 12, 2015

FORMER Bridley Moor High School student Chris Albert has returned from the 2015 Blind Sailing World Championships in Chicago with a silver medal.

Chris, the main trimmer on the Team GB Tom 28 match racing yacht, was part of a four-man team competing in the event on Lake Michigan in the United States last month.

And together with the two other British boats in the team they also clinched the World Squadron Cup for best performing country.

Chris learnt to sail at Upton Warren in Wychbold and after leaving school worked as an apprentice at Hydrovane and then in the automotive and engineering before leaving the family’s Lowans Hill View home in Redditch after being headhunted by a company based in the north east.

“Chris began having problems with his eyesight eight years ago,” said his dad Bob, “and it is still deteriorating.

“When he started losing his sight it was quite rapid.

“He had a number of laser treatments to try and stop it but his sight continued to fail and now he is classed as severally visually impaired.”

Forced to give up his job the 49-year-old started working for South Tyneside Council teaching children with sight or hearing problems about modern technology.

And two years ago he re-discovered his love of sailing and bought a dinghy and is now an active member of South Shields Sailing Club.

Speaking about his sailing success, Chris said: “Day one sailing in seven foot waves in an unfamiliar boat we achieved a fourth, three thirds and second.

“Day two of sailing we only did three of the scheduled four races before the wind died. However we achieved two firsts and a second in those.”