Sloop programme could bring long-term benefits
Bermuda Sloop Foundations award-winning youth development programme will benefit local sailing in the long-term.
Thats the opinion of Newport Bermuda Race chairman John Osmond who has seen similar youth development programmes bear fruit in his native USA.
The veteran sailor said such programmes pave the way for young people from all walks of life to become involved in the sport.
To open the sport to anyone with the desire to be out on the water and experiencing the thrill of sailing opens avenues for everyone to become involved with sailing, Mr Osmond said. It builds the sport through youth development.
Since coming into existence BSFs highly regarded youth development programme has received two prestigious international awards.
In 2007 the organisation received the Sail Training Program of the Year Award from American Sail Training Association and a year later was chosen as Sail Trainer of the Year by Sail Training International.
BSFs mission is to provide superior youth development for Bermudas youth using the 118ft sloop, Spirit of Bermuda, as a unique and dynamic functional community and classroom.
Spirit is a purpose-built sail-training vessel based on civilian Bermudian-type schooners built in Bermuda by Bermudians between 1810 and 1840.
In nearly six years of operation Spirit has provided a character development program for over 2,600 young people and has sailed over 38,000 miles in overseas expeditions to 17 ports in ten countries.
The triple-mast sloop is a source of pride for student crews who serve as Bermudian ambassadors in overseas ports.
Spirit is among the 166 entries in this years Newport Bermuda Race.
The sail-training vessel is competing alone in the newly formed Spirit of Tradition Division for the War Baby Trophy donated by legendary sailor Warren Brown.
The 82-year-old sailor, who has logged more than 300,000 miles at sea, is among Spirits 32-strong crew that also includes past Olympian Alan Burland, Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) commodore Allan Williams and skipper Scott Jackson.
Mr Osmond, a veteran of 15 Newport Bermuda Races, is delighted to see Spirit involved in the 635 mile Thrash to the Onion Patch.
The sail training programme for the Islands population of youths is a very exciting prospect for this event in that it is a new division with a new concept of the type of boat we might see in the future in their own class, he said. It certainly brings a great deal of attention about Bermuda and about the Spirit project for the Islanders.
We are excited about the fact that we have an opportunity to showcase the boat for the foundation and were happy to do that.
Spirit arrived in Newport on Tuesday night after making the short sprint from Norfolk, Virginia.
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