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Sailing youngsters get tips from the very best

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Bermuda Optimist Sailing Dinghy Association (BODA) development officer Paul Doughty has hailed Saturday's BART Clinic 2013 at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) as an overwhelmng success.

More than 50 Optimist sailors attended the nearly three-hour long event faciliated by sailing star and four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie and RBYC Sailing Academy coaching staff.

During the clinic Sir Ben lectured and fielded questions from the youth sailors who also took part in sailing drills in the Optimist dinghy in Hamilton Harbor.

“It's always good when you have someone of the prominence of Ben Ainslie to tell your sailors something you tell them every day,” Doughty said. “I think it was very successful because the kids were not inhibited, they asked questions freely.”

Doughty was also impressed by the young sailors' enthusiasm and attentiveness on the water under the watchful gaze of Sir Ben.

“You know that they were motivated and listening while they were are sailing,” he added. “It's good to see them trying.”

Saturday's event also served as a fundraiser for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

Organisers raised $3,000 to assist young sailors in the UK lacking the support required to fulfill their athletic ambitions in the sport.

“I think it's great to give back to the sport that's been given to you,” added Doughty.

The Foundation was established in memory of the late Simpson who was killed earlier this year during a mishap while practising for the 34th America's Cup on the Swedish AC72, Artemis in San Francisco Bay.

“I don't think any of us will ever forget that moment,” Sir Ben recalled. “Up until then we had all been enjoying the challenge of trying to sail these incredibly powerful AC72 multihulls around San Francsico Bay. Then, in an instant, the whole world stopped and for many of us close to Andrew (Bart) Simpson, life would never quite be the same.”

Sir Ben added: “We would like people to remember Andrew in a positive manner and for something worthwhile to grow in his memory. For that reason we have set up a charity in Andrew's name.

“The goals of the charity are closely aligned to Andrew's passion, which was to help younger sailors coming through the sport and offer advice that he often found was lacking when he himself was trying to make that transition from a promising highly talented young sailor to an Olympic gold medal winner.”

Sir Ben said monies raised by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation also assists youngsters pursuing careers in other areas of the sailing industry to fulfill their goals.

“The Foundation will look for ways to support these young sailors and mentor them through this critical learning period,” he added. “We will offer funds for apprentices to undertake appropriate courses and sit for the relevant qualifications in their chosen area of the 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.”

Learning opportunity: Young Optimist sailors go out in Hamilton harbour after taking instruction from sailing superstar Sir Ben Ainslie
All ears: Youngsters prepare to listen to Sir Ben Ainslie (second from right)
Optimist sailors start to go out on Hamilton harbour

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Published October 07, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 07, 2013 at 1:03 am)

Sailing youngsters get tips from the very best

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