Visually impaired Olivier Ducroix has developed an app that allows visually impaired people to navigate semi-independently. A big step forward in making the sport accessible to them.
“Within 15 days of applying, I learned more about sailing than over 20 years of practice.With a big smile on his face, Olivier Ducroix, co-designer of SARANAV, tells us about his request to be allowed to sail a sailboat almost autonomously.
We go with him for a walk on the Grand-Large lake, departing from Décines-Charpieu in the Rhone. He shows us that Saranav works with the landmarks recorded on the buoys, forming a predetermined route.
“We just crossed the buoy, pulled the mainsail“, says Oliver.”ok readySoledad answers, who is also visually impaired. A characteristic little noise warned Olivier of overcoming the obstacle. Throughout the journey, they took turns driving and on the mainsail.
Thanks to all this information, people with visual impairments can become masters on the boat, and make their own navigation choices.
Sailing was already a sport especially suitable for blind people. “The sound of the wind in the sails, the tension of the ropes, the feeling of wind on the face, they are all signals that allowed blind or visually impaired sailors to sail‘, explains Olivier Ducroix.
But thanks to the application, they have gained enormous independence. “Before, I mainly had spare time but since I know the app I can be more active on the boat.‘,” explains Soledad Redondo, a visually impaired navigator using Saranav.
“What SARA does not do is detect other boats or potential dangers.‘explains Marine Clogenson, SARANAV app developer, and daytime observer. This is why the sighted navigator must be on board or on a motorboat nearby.
Currently, only a few national cecivoiles (sailing competitions for visually impaired people) are used by SARA. Its designers dream that this application will be used in major international competitions.
“At the Paralympics, for example, we use sound buoys at the moment. It makes a lot of noise, it’s not very fun‘, explains Olivier Ducroix.
“It’s not very suitable for training either, you can’t stand the noise pollution on the water.“
The app is free. It’s only available on the Apple Store because it was developed using the Apple brand’s proprietary audio transmission system.
Video Duration: 02 min 03
video. Blind sailing possible
© France TV