The Imago Maris Foundation: Sailing the Seas with an Integrated Blind and Sighted Crew

The Imago Maris Foundation, headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, recently launched an international program to promote sailing on the high seas, integrate crews of blind, visually impaired, and sighted sailors, and provide meaningful sailing and travel experiences.

About the Imago Maris Foundation

The primary goal of the Imago Maris Foundation is to promote the rehabilitation and integration of men and women who are blind or visually impaired through active participation in sea voyages; in addition, the Foundation seeks to demystify blindness by utilizing fully integrated (50% blind, 50% sighted) crews. Every person, regardless of visual status, performs all tasks related to the operation of the ship.

According to Foundation President Ewa Skrzecz, Imago Maris sea voyages are organized for blind and visually impaired people who “want to have a great adventure, sail around Europe, try their hands at the helm, and meet other adventurers who love the sea and are looking for experience. It’s also a chance to meet new people, make new friends, overcome common obstacles, and celebrate joint successes.”

The Sailing Ship: The Kapitan Borchardt

The Kapitan (Captain) Borchardt is a three-masted schooner and the oldest sailing ship under the Polish flag.

The Kapitan Borchardt, a three-masted schooner

The Kapitan Borchardt

The ship’s permanent crew includes the captain, mechanic, boatswain, and cook, in addition to 32 training crew members.

The Ship’s Captain

The Captain of the Imago Maris

Captain Maciej (Matthias) Sodkiewicz (pictured at left) has sailed more than 62,500 nautical miles, with 53,000 miles as captain.

In addition, Captain Sodkiewicz has

  • spent 14,300 hours at sea;
  • taken 158 sea voyages, including 132 voyages as captain, and 26 as a crewman, watch officer, or first officer;
  • commanded ships with blind crew members as part of the 2013 “See the Sea” project.

He has circumnavigated the whole of Europe from the Barents Sea to Casablanca; sailed to Iceland; sailed twice around Cape Horn; set foot on Antarctica; and raced with sea turtles in the Virgin Islands.

In 2012, Captain Sodkiewicz was awarded the Bronze Cross of Merit by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Adaptations On Board the Ship

To enable all crew members to perform their duties, the ship includes the following adaptations:

  • a talking rudder angle indicator
  • talking radar/auditory sonar
  • a talking GPS
  • sea voyage charts in braille

About the Voyage

The next Imago Maris sea voyage is scheduled for October 11-18, 2014. The official language is English. The price is 500 Euros and includes the following:

  • accommodation on the ship for seven days, meals, insurance, a sailing course (navigation, boat construction, and meteorology), and supervision by the permanent crew and watch officers
  • The price excludes personal expenses, admission fees incurred during port stays, and transfers to sign on and sign off ports.

The route will include the following ports: Alicante – Ibiza – Majorca – Barcelona.

The Imago Maris route

The Imago Maris proposed route

[Please note: If the ship encounters adverse weather conditions, the route may be changed at the discretion of the captain.]

You can learn more about the voyage, including the organization of the ship and watch rosters, booking information and required forms, and contact information at the Imago Maris Foundation website.

Additional Foundation Information

Imago Maris Foundation
ul. Wloscianska 15 m 85
01-710 Warsaw, Poland
Phone: +48 690 88 27 78

Thank you to @soundsofdreams for this information.