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Spirit of giving drives Butterfield’s race bid

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A local businessman is doing his part to ensure that the Bermuda Sloop Foundation's award winning character development programme stays afloat.

Jim Butterfield, co-owner of wholesale distributors Butterfield & Vallis, has chartered the charity's sail training vessel, Spirit of Bermuda, for the Newport Bermuda Race that begins June 20.

Mr Butterfield has gone to this length primarily to support the foundation who, like many charities, are struggling to make ends meet in the trying economic climate.

“When I saw that the sloop foundation was floundering I thought ‘let's do all we can to support the organisation',” he said. “This is a vital programme and can you imagine if this boat was sold to Boston, Baltimore or Philadelphia.”

Bermuda Sloop Foundation provides superior character development to a large number of the Island's youth using the unique attributes of experiential learning through sail training in a dynamic, 24/7 operating, floating residential community and classroom that is the Spirit of Bermuda which also competed in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race.

The foundation's vision is to make full use of Spirit of Bermuda as a rite of passage for every public school student aged 13-14.

The combination of solid character development objectives and a custom designed historical and maritime curriculum have empowered more than 3,500 young Bermudians to understand the attributes of being productive members of a community and to value experiences that direct them away from poor attitudes, negative peer pressure, gang affiliation and crime.

“It is amazing those kids from about 13 to 15 who go out on Spirit of Bermuda,” Mr Butterfield continued. “Most of the ones I speak to it is just the best thing that has ever happened to them.

“Some of them have either gone on to get their pilot's license or going on to work on other ships and the thing that triggered this search was a trip on the sloop and then getting into all sorts of different things. And this is why I think it is vital to support this programme.

“It is not like we won't have any gang violence if we had another sloop. But boy you can sure save some kids by getting them into a programme like this which dove tails into the Mirrors Program.”

Mr Butterfield and ten of his staff will set sail for New York on Saturday along with Spirit of Bermuda's full-time crew.

The staff members were drawn from a list of 36 applicants from various departments at the company's two outlets on Woodlands Road in Pembroke and Orange Valley Road in Devonshire.

Among those drawn were Kate Cabral and Sturgis Isaac who are both looking forward to the experience of a lifetime.

“I am excited and looking forward to the team building as well as the adventure,” said Mrs Cabral, who holds a US Coast Guard Maritime License in the United States. “I have spent many hours on the water but never crossed this far so I am really excited because it's a trip of a lifetime.”

Mr Isaac is also excited ahead of his maiden ocean crossing and visit to New York after being encouraged to do so.

“I signed up on the last day and a week later I was told that my name had been picked,” he said. “I was lucky to be picked and I am excited about it.”

Mr Butterfield added: “I am excited and really switched on to see some of the staff members that have already shown me their gear and are ready to go.”

Following Spirit of Bermuda's arrival in New York, the Butterfield & Vallis staff will fly back home while Mr Butterfield will sail onto Newport, Rhode Island where he will be joined by family members that will sail with him in the Newport Bermuda Race.

Mr Butterfield, who represented Bermuda in rowing at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, is making his third appearance in the race.

“I have done the Newport Bermuda Race twice but never sailed in a sloop this size,” he said. “So this is a new experience for me, and I am excited too.”

The 635-mile ocean race starts near Castle Hill Light at the entrance to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island and ends off St David's Lighthouse, Bermuda.

Local businessman Jim Butterfield, co-owner of wholesalers Butterfield & Vallis has chartered the Spirit of Bermuda for this month's Newport to Bermuda ocean race with staff to help in support of The Bermuda Sloop Foundation. Shown from left to right are Spencer Butterfield, Martin Trott, Chris Sousa, Glenn Flood, Eugene Furbert, Stergis Isaac, Kate Cabral, Francois Bosson, Frankie Harris, Federico Lomabardi, Gary Lynch and Mr Butterfield.
Photo by Jack Rhind The Spirit of Bermuda crosses the start line of the 2013 Marion-Bermuda race.
Jim Butterfield, co-owner of wholesale distributors Butterfield & Vallis, has chartered the charity's sail training vessel, Spirit of Bermuda, for the Newport Bermuda Race that begins June 20.

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Published June 05, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 04, 2014 at 11:30 pm)

Spirit of giving drives Butterfield’s race bid

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