Alone in a boat, blind, missing a leg and needing to return to shore — it’s a situation Perth sailor Kylie Forth has been in many times in the past 12 years, yet she remains undaunted.
At age three she lost her sight to cancer; at nine it also claimed her right leg.
But the disease hasn’t stopped the 32-year-old from becoming a top sailor who in 2015 won the Blind Match Racing World Championships in the United States.
Ms Forth said disability was no barrier to being able to sail a boat. “You could have no arms, no legs, you could be old, you could be six years old — it doesn’t matter because once you’re out there on the water, you’re just another boat in a race.”
Ms Forth learned to sail when she joined the Sailability program at the Royal Perth Yacht Club in 2006, and said her disabilities initially presented a challenge to her teachers.
“It took a bit of ingenuity to come up with ways to learn how to sail without being able to see the sails,” she said.
“The people who were teaching me would sometimes close their eyes and try and think: ‘I know how to sail as a sighted person, but how am I now going to try and pass this information on to a blind person?’