From Fox 10 Phoenix, October 2018


The Foundation for Blind Children is known for getting blind students to do things they never thought possible like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking the Grand Canyon Rim, to even white water rafting down the Grand Canyon. Currently, they are preparing students for what could be one of their greatest challenges yet.

It has been said that self doubt is the anchor that keeps our ships from sailing. But this crew is determined not to stay in the harbor.

“This is something that will hopefully make me more confident,” says Cesar Yanez with Blind Buccaneers.

They call themselves the Blind Buccaneers. 12 students ages 13-21, from all different backgrounds, some blind and some low vision, some since birth and some for a few years.

“It was nerve wracking because I had never sailed before and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Isabelle Chapman.

What they expect is to sail three boats and circumnavigate the Spanish Virgin Islands with the help of 12 sighted guides.

“The most difficult part that I think is turning because it means you have to pay attention to what direction the wind is going that’s how we find out if we turn left or right, being able to tell which way the wind is heading,” said Yanez.

This was the group’s fourth lesson as a team. They sailed Lake Pleasant learning the ropes, working on communication and most importantly, according to the Foundation for Blind Children, understanding they are capable.

“We’re really teaching these kids that being blind is not a disability, it’s a diagnosis and they can really accomplish and do anything in their life,” explained Steve Pope with the Foundation for Blind Children.

Not everybody who signs up completes the challenge. Those who commit themselves and push the limits, change their lives forever, and by doing so, the Blind Buccaneers are changing their course.

“We’re all really excited to do this and we all know we can do this so I hope this just shows everyone not only can blind people and visually impaired people do the same things that they can but also that we lead the same lives, we just do things a little bit differently,” said Chapman.

The team sets sail on November 10.