After losing his sight at age 45, tax partner Walter Raineri took up competitive sailing. CNN’s Great Big Story and Our Great American Story recently featured Raineri, skipper of Blind Match Racing Team USA 1.
Raineri refused to let his circumstances slow him down and has enjoyed “twelve years of extreme adventures from Nordic skiing in Sweden to kayak racing to bicycle racing in a velodrome, and most recently with blind sailing and match racing,” he told Our Great American Story.
“When I was introduced to blind sailing, it was really an opportunity for me to push the walls out, to feel reconnected with the earth,” Raineri told Great Big Story.
To navigate the waters without sight, the sailors utilize audio buoys located along the course, Great Big Story reported. The boats also emit sounds to alert other sailors of their presence.
Raineri and his teammates won the bronze medal at the Blind Match Racing World Championships in September 2016. The Fenwick-sponsored team’s victory secured the United States’ first podium space in the competition’s history.
“For anyone who thinks that they can’t do something – it’s too hard, it’s too complicated, it’s too frustrating – I am here to tell you that is just not true,” Raineri said. "Add a little bit of courage and you can do just about anything.”