Mankind's passion to sail the seas is a desire that is ingrained in many hearts and minds. This desire is what has motivated and inspired most of the great sailors from the Vikings to the Renaissance explorers such as Columbus and Magellan. This desire is one that still motivates and inspires sailors today.
Kristopher Scheppe is equally inspired and motivated by a great love of sailing the seas. Just as Magellan and his crew used their passion to become the first sailors to successfully sail around the world, Scheppe strives to become the first legally blind person to achieve the same goal.
At a very young age Scheppe was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), RP is a genetic eye disease, which results in gradual loss of peripheral vision and legal-blindness in most cases. Kris' sight allows him to see directly ahead through a small patch of central vision, commonly referred to as tunnel vision.
Being legally blind has not stopped Scheppe from accomplishing great things throughout his life. He realizes that blindness will not stop him from doing the same things that sighted people do; they may just be done a little differently.
Scheppe has been sailing for 15 years, he started sailing with his parents aboard a San Juan 21 on Lake Norman in North Carolina. His father taught him the art of sailing, creating the perfect father and son crew. After moving to Wisconsin in 1994 Scheppe and his father cruised on Lake Michigan aboard a S2 8.0C 26' center-cockpit. Together they explored many ports along the Wisconsin shoreline of Lake Michigan.
He sailed aboard a 45' catamaran in the British Virgin Islands for 21 days where he participated in underwater research projects and furthered his SCUBA training in 1999. In 2003 Scheppe met Capt. Eric Smith of the research vessel Discoverer Ketty Lund and was invited to join the Discoverer crew as an intern. The Ketty Lund is a 73' Danish fishing trawler, converted into a research vessel. In June of 2005 Scheppe was invited by the Edison Sailing Center to sail a Gulfstar 50 from Belize to Fort Myers and in April of 2007 was invited again to sail from Fort Myers to Roatan, Honduras. On these passages Scheppe logged over 1300 sea miles and nearly two weeks of sailing in the open ocean.
Scheppe founded the Florida Gulf Coast University Sailing Club in Fort Myers that teaches sailing to college students and is now actively competing in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association.
Scheppe's vision is to be the first legally blind person to sail around the world non-stop. He is currently living on and preparing a Vancouver 36 named Blind Victoria for this voyage. This is a great feat that many sighted people would never try. Kris aims to prove that with determination and hard work those that are legally blind can achieve their dreams and make great contributions to society.
Now, the time has come to go forward with this vision and make it a reality, thus, Blind Circumnavigation was born. Kris is eager to get plans in order to embark on the journey of his lifetime.