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.