Chris hoping for help to sail away with gold again

A visually impaired South Tyneside-based sailor aims to ride the waves of both good and bad fortune to clinch his second consecutive world sailing gold medal.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 7:00 am
Chris Albert with the gold medal he won in 2017

Chris Albert, 53, has used the onset of blindness caused by diabetes as his inspiration to gain the skills to represent Great Britain and become a world-beater.

In 2017, the South Tyneside Council employee was part of a four-strong team that came first in the Blind Fleet Racing World Championships.

It surpassed their efforts of two years earlier, when they secured a second place silver medal in the gruelling week-long 17 race competition.

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He is now gearing up tocompete for Great Britain in the biennial tournament, which takes place in Canada in September.

However, he is seeking financial support to raise the £6,000 he needs each year to train.

Chris, a divorced dad-of-one, who works as a Technical Support Officer in the council's Hearing and Visually Impaired Service, said: “I’m confident of getting gold again.

“I really have to believe that or there would be no point taking part in this competition.

“In the two previous times I have represented Great Britain in this competition, I have been with the same three sailors, one of whom is also visually impaired.

“But since the start of the year, I have been with an entirely different crew.

“We have been training together very well.

“My sailing is self-funded and costs around £6,000 each year. I will soon have a JustGiving page up and running.”

He added: “For me, sailing has replaced driving a car – I feel the adrenalin, and it puts me in control.

Chris, from Washington, took up sailing in 2013 and practices twice-a-week at South Shields Sailing Club and monthly with the national team - lost his sight in 2008 and now has only limited vision.

Teams from the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as well as a second GB crew, are expected to compete in the championships, being held from September 2 to September 8.