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Budding sailors shown the ropes

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The Ben Ainslies and Jimmy Spithills of tomorrow showed their skills at the 35th America's Cup yesterday as the Endeavour Programme took to the water.

Hundreds of youngsters of all ages and abilities took advantage of the unique opportunity to jump on board a Hobie Wave and cruise around in front of huge crowds of sailing fans.

The children were taken out to a fleet of pink-sailed vessels and shown how to manoeuvre them by instructors as the America's Cup teams did battle in the background of the Great Sound.

“No where else are you allowed this close to the racecourse so it is an amazing experience for these youngsters,” Tom Herbert-Evans, the America's Cup community sailing manager, said.

“We have taken out some children who have never sailed before and some who have done quite a bit on the water all ranging in age from six all the way up to 18.

“Sailing can be quite an intimidating sport if you have not tried it before, so for these children to be able to get this experience with an instructor on board and learn the ropes is a very special opportunity.”

Over the course of the yesterday more than 200 children got the chance to take the rudder of the Hobie craft in near perfect sailing conditions.

The America's Cup Endeavour Day was part of the ongoing Endeavour Programme that began over two years ago and has provided sailing and educational experiences to hundreds of students in Bermuda.

The programme has also seen nearly 1,600 primary and middle school pupils go through the Endeavour Steam education programme.

Bermudian Tatiana Sousa, 8, was one of the many children to jump at the chance of sailing in front of the America's Cup Village yesterday.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “It was difficult to begin with but I have been on some sailing camps before so that helped.

“We were really close to the races and I was cheering on Team Oracle.”

Poppy Freisenbruch, 6, added: “This was the first time I had done something like this so it was a little scary at first.

“But I quickly got used to it and we ended up going pretty fast.”

Later this month Bermudian students who have taken part in the Endeavour Programme will compete against overseas rivals in a Junior Regatta in Dockyard.

The regatta will run between June 12 and 24 and provide the youngsters with the chance to take part in a half-time exhibition race on match race days showcasing the skills they have learnt.

“One of the major features of the Endeavour Programme is the importance of leaving a legacy in Bermuda that will continue long after the racing has finished at the end of June.

“America's Cup has never had a programme of this calibre before Bermuda and it has huge potential.

“The Steam programme and the educational efforts are one side of this, the other includes that two sailing centres that have been created in the east and the west.

“Most of the equipment and infrastructure that has been used in their creation has been gifted by the teams and sponsors.”

35th America's Cup: Day 1, Endeavour sailors (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 29, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 29, 2017 at 1:20 pm)

Budding sailors shown the ropes

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