Blind World Magazine

Vision impaired Circumnavigators near New Zealand.

November 06, 2005.
Sail World, Australia.

Pamela Habek and Scott Duncan, two vision impaired sailors, are about to arrive in New Zealand as part of a world circumnavigation.

They are sailing in a Valiant 32, named Tournesol.

The following is taken from Scott and Pamela's website,, where the duo talks of their experience, motivations and more.


'First and foremost, I would probably have undertaken this goal if I were fully sighted. I grew up near the beach in Santa Monica and I have always loved the water. I was a swimmer in school, and I later became a certified diver. I have always dreamed about sailing around the world, and I am a person who deeply believes that we should all pursue our dreams.'

'I would also like my challenge to encourage anyone living with vision loss. The world has a way of placing limitations on anyone who does not fit the 'normal' mould. From birth doctors told my parents that I would never be 'normal'.

'Don't expect much from him' they said 'and you may consider sending him to a residential school or institution'.

'Unfortunately, this has been a constant theme throughout my life.'

'To sail around the world will be one more accomplishment in a long line of accomplishments made by visually impaired people that sends a signal to everyone, the capabilities bar has been raised one more notch for people who are blind.'

'For a number of years I was a staff member at Camp Bloomfield ( and later I became the Camp Director at Enchanted Hills Camp (, both summer camps for blind children and teenagers. We would sit at campfire and discuss our equality in the world and the philosophy that if we tried hard enough then we could accomplish just about anything. In some way this effort is a way for me to put my money where my mouth was and do something truly challenging. If I succeed I will be pleased. If I fail, I will be pleased for trying. If I don't do this, I will always wonder why I never tried.'


'Sailing has always been in my blood. I grew up in Maine on Mount Desert Island and my father worked as a sailboat rigger for Hinckley Yachts. Growing up in rural New England I never had the chance to interact with other blind children, and sighted people always told me what I could and could not accomplish.

'It took me until the age of twenty-three, when I moved to San Francisco, to challenge my family's perceptions of my capabilities. I met many blind people who served as role models and I pushed my own boundaries to achieve independence. I am participating in this voyage to reach out to blind children everywhere that feel all alone and live by the limitations set by others.

For more on this challenging voyage, and on blind sailing generally check out

by Scott Duncan & Pamela Habek

Source URL:

End of article.

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