Project Homerus
(A project to encourage Sailing for the Blind)
Project Homerus was conceived by Alessandro Gaoso in Italy and launched in 1995. Its objective is to teach blind people to sail autonomously. Blind sailing trainees immediately accepted it with enthusiasm and to date over 160 blind people had been trained to sail unassisted by sighted persons.
The Homerus Association offers sailing courses on a regular basis which include familiarisation, match-racing and instrument navigation.  Sailing is assisted by ATNA - a talking satellite navigation device designed for sailing boats, which is the key to blind people sailing successfully on their own.
Blind Sailing International (BSI) Regattas have been sailed in boats ranging in size from the 23 foot Sonar to the 36 foot Farr design. However, the Sonar now appears to be becoming the boat of choice, following its successful use at the BSI Regatta in Miami. Nevertheless, when all's said and done, the choice of boat is strongly influenced by its suitability and availability at the sailing venue and vice versa.
The Homerus project is supported by charitable contributions from all over Europe. In Italy the prestigious Italian wine producer "Cantine della Valtenesi e della Lugana", based on the shores of Lake Garda, is one of the Project's principal sponsors. Their support is in the form of a special line of Bacco di Homerus' classic Lake Garda wines which are placed on the market at very reasonable prices.
The exclusive bottles bear images of a typical Homerus sailboat with its white and tan sails (the white and tan sails are an internationally accepted sign that the boat is crewed by visually impaired sailors). The proceeds of the sale of Bacco di Homerus wines are used by the Homerus Association to fund the purchase the ATNA talking satellite navigation device.
Three Bacco di Homerus Lake Garda wines will be offered to The Club on the evening of 2nd September 2006 by our friend Frank Rainsborough. (Frank is an ex Commodore of Queen Mary SC and helps support Project Homerus in this country.) The wines are a White Lugana (medium dry), a Red Classico mainly from typical local grapes and a Chiaretto Classico made from a similar mix of grapes but in this case the skins are removed after 12 hours to give a pink wine with an appealing fresh fruity taste.
The evening will take the form of a "charity dinner". We will have the opportunity to sample the three wines prior to sitting down to a 4 course Italian dinner (accompanied by the wines of choice) which will be followed by a video presentation about the Project. We will wind up the evening with some musical entertainment. There will also be the opportunity to order additional wine for later delivery. All the proceeds of the evening will go to the Homerus Project
The wines come in a variety of packages ranging from 6 bottle cartons to 2, 3 or 6 bottle cases. With their unique labeling they provide an interesting talking point round the table and also make excellent gifts for friends and family, not to mention Christmas presents for all and sundry. Wine is included in the price of tickets for the dinner.  Additional wine can be bought at £5.00 per bottle.
And finally. "What is in the name "Bacco di Homerus"? The consensus in the Bodgit translations department is that Homerus was the name selected for the project because  Homer (the 8th Century BC Greek poet) was himself thought to have been blind and his work (e.g. his account of the Trojan wars in the Iliad) is associated with heroic ideals. Bacchus (Bacco in Italian) refers to the Roman god of wine.
More details of the Project can be found at http://www.homerus.it/homerus.php/p-ukx4x72/News.htm
Mike (Over Easy) Baker