Discarded dinghies get a new lease of life
It is often said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
That certainly proved to be the case yesterday for five graduates of the America’s Cup Endeavour community sailing programme, who have been granted use of five refurbished Optimist dinghies for the year to further their development.
Keyan Webb, Gianni Santucci, Riley Morbey, Samantha Soares and Joanna Santiago have been selected to receive the Optimist dinghies which they will sail out of local clubs.
The five young Bermudian sailors have all been inspired by their participation in the AC Endeavour programme, and were selected after demonstrating a desire to continue in the sport.
“I’m going to name my boat ‘redhead’,” said Soares, who plans to sail as much as she can this year. “I want to start tomorrow.”
The boats, which had been left in disrepair and headed for the junkyard, were donated to the programme by the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club and refurbished by Oracle Team USA’s boat builders.
A team of workers from Bank of Butterfield and PwC helped to strip them down and deliver them to Oracle’s base in Dockyard.
The sails were provided by North Sails, while Harken provided the rigging hardware, blocks and cleats and Magic Marine life jackets and clothing.
In all, 15 Optimist dinghies are to be refurbished and assigned to graduates of the AC Endeavour programme.
“It’s so cool to see a programme like this that paves the way for boats that would otherwise be wasted, to get a new life,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. “Hopefully what we’ve done in Bermuda is just a start.”
Spithill, the youngest skipper to win the America’s Cup, praised his Oracle colleagues for their doing their part in restoring the dinghies.
“It’s amazing to see the result of the work our shore and boat building team put in here,” he said. “We’re all excited to get behind the AC Endeavour programme and to support local kids getting out sailing.
“Our guys put in a lot of their own time to get these boats into a state where they’re as good as new. It’s unbelievable what a transformation there has been, and it’s great to now be able to pass them along so a new generation of keen sailors can use them.”
Sir Russell Coutts, the America’s Cup Event Authority CEO, added: “I am very passionate about the America’s Cup Endeavour programme and really excited that this is spreading out throughout the community. It’s kind of like a good virus.
“I imagine that the Oracle team boat builders have created a bit of a problem for themselves because they have revamped fifteen boats and five of them have already gone out today to kids who want to take this up. I can easily foresee another 15 unused boats being shipped in here soon and having to go through the same process, and what a great problem to have.”