The Bonnie lou gibson memorial Sail for the visually Impaired
The annual Bonnie Lou Gibson Memorial Sail for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SVI) has grown to become one of the most important and well attended philanthropic events in Newport Harbor. Each year, over 250 blind or visually impaired guests and their escorts spend a day sailing with volunteers from the American Legion Yacht Club and other area yacht clubs. There are over 150 volunteers acting as sailing skippers, crew, escorts to and from the docks, meal servers, guide dog sitters, check-in personnel, marina control, parking assignment, and much more.
SVI had humble beginnings, starting In 1990 when Bonnie Gibson and Bobbie Reed of the Women's Sailing Association - Orange County (WSA-OC) took 15 blind people sailing on a 40-foot sailboat. A year later, in 1991, American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC) Commodore J.T. Tarwater established ALYC and Post 291 as the host for SVI. Commodore Tarwater’s legacy continues today as the ALYC not only continues to host, but also manages the organization and leadership of SVI.