Oracle donate dinghies to sailing club
Oracle Team USA have donated a second batch of 15 Optimist dinghies to the Sandys Boat Club.
The boats had been completely refurbished by the Oracle builders after being rescued from the scrap heap, and were officially handed over to the club this afternoon.
Oracle has now rebuilt 30 Optimist dinghies at its base in Bermuda and donated them to youth sailing projects, with support from the America's Cup Endeavour youth education and sailing programme and its partners.
“I've always said we have the best shore-side operation in the America's Cup and our boatbuilders have demonstrated that with this effort,” Oracle skipper, Jimmy Spithill, said. “These guys work very long hours at the best of times but they just got stuck in and put the extra hours in to rebuild these boats so more children can get out sailing.”
The team's boatbuilding crew is led by Mark Turner, an America's Cup veteran, who has overseen the building programme for the last two America's Cup winning boats.
He says the professional skills the boatbuilders have honed in building and maintaining America's Cup boats were put to good use in refurbishing the Optimists.
“I'm really proud of the guys who made the time to tackle this project,” Mr Turner said. “If you look at these boats, it's hard to believe that they were on the scrapheap just a few months ago. They look better than brand new. The guys have done incredible work.”
In February of this year, Oracle Team USA donated a first batch of 15 Optimist dinghies to the America's Cup Endeavour programme for use by its graduates. Those old boats, which were in a variety of states of disrepair, had been given to the programme by the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club.
“This will have a huge impact on the rejuvenation and sustainability of our Junior Sailing Programme,” said Martin Siese, past Commodore and Club Sailing Coordinator for Sandys Boat Club.
“One of our main stumbling blocks to restarting our Junior programme was the condition of our boats, and the huge amount of work that would be required to get them ready to sail. Most of these boats were 20 years old. We effectively now have 15 ‘as new' boats, so that stumbling block has been removed for us by Oracle.
“Our ultimate goal is to have year-round programme which could see 100 or more sailors using the boats every year.”