Local clinic helps UK sailors
Bermuda's Optimist sailors helped raise more than $3,000 for their counterparts in the United Kingdom lacking the support to fulfill their ambitions in the sport.
The monies were raised during today's BART Clinic 2013 at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC).
The event was jointly organised by sailing star Sir Ben Ainslie and Ben Ainslie Racing Team team-mate Matt Cromwell as well as RBYC Sailing Academy staff and lasted just over three hours.
Proceeds from the sale of sailing and polo shirts sold during the clinic will be donated to the Andrew Simpson Foundation.
The late Simpson was a member of Sir Ben's 2008 Argo Group Gold Cup team.
He was killed earlier this year practising for the 34th America's Cup on the Swedish AC72, Artemis in San Francisco Bay.
The stated aim of the Foundation is “closely aligned” to the late sailor's passion of aiding youth sailors coming through the ranks and offering them advice.
The Foundation also assists those keen to pursue careers as a boat builder, sail maker and other aspects of the sailing industry.
“The Foundation will look for ways to support these young sailors and mentor them through this critical period,” Sir Ben explained. “We will offer funds for apprentices to undertake appropriate courses and sit for the relevant qualifications in their chosen area of sailing industry.
“We want to make a real difference to many young people's lives through the sport of sailing and we know that this would have made Andrew very proud.”
As many as 51 Optimist sailors attended the clinic.
The young sailors were briefed by four time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben who then responded to wide ranging questions from the participants before they engaged in sailing drills in the Optimist dinghy in Hamilton Harbour.
After practising various sailing maneuvers the young sailors were debriefed. The clinic then concluded with an awards ceremony after which Sir Ben took the time to sign autographs.
Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association (BODA) Development Officer Paul Doughty summed up the clinic as a huge success.
“It's always good when you have someone of the prominence of Ben Ainslie to tell your sailors something you tell them everyday,” he said. “I think it was very successful because the kids were not inhibited, they asked questions freely.
“It's good to see them trying and you know that they were motivated and listening to Ben and Matt on the water while they were are sailing.”
As for the monies raised for charity, Doughty added: “I think it's great to give back to the sport that's been given to you.”