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BSA chief puts accent on promotion

Martin Siese seen here sailing in the Star Class with Peter Bromby

Promoting sailing and administering the sport more efficiently at the national level during tough economic times rank high on the mandate of newly-appointed Bermuda Sailing Association (BSA) president Martin Siese.The veteran sailor was appointed by BSA’s board of governors at the association’s AGM last month after Leatrice Roman resigned from the top post.“Leatrice decided she didn’t want to continue as president so I volunteered to take over and we went from there,” Siese explained. “I’ve been on the board a few years now and I was vice-president previously to Leatrice so it was more natural progression than anything.“I’ve spent a lot of time on the water doing a lot of sailing and had a huge amount of enjoyment out of it and this is my chance to give a little back to the sport and try and promote it and help the youngsters and try and attract more people to the sport.”Siese said his “main priority was to try and organise BSA a little better” during trying economic times.“It’s a very different environment we are operating in,” he added. “Previously we did receive significant funding from the Government but at the time we were also running the White’s Island and Darrell’s Island programmes that allowed us to have paid staff. But the economic times are such the Government cannot afford to be putting as much money into sport and we understand that and the last few years we have struggled a little bit to reorganise without having a full-time administrator.“I think we have to think back to how we did it before and the funding from Government is relatively recent as well. We have been sailing for hundreds of years and it’s probably only 20 years ago we started to get any money from Government so I think it’s more of making sure we are organised and having clear messages on what funding we do have access to and how we intend to use it.”Siese, who has represented Bermuda in world and continental championship regattas in the Star class with Sandys Boat Club stablemate Peter Bromby, also intends to go to great lengths to lure more people to the sport.“I think a bigger effort should be spent on introducing people to the sport and get people out at the beginner level and club level sailing,” he said. “I think if that is active and good then the good guys bubble up to the top and you end up creating those potential Olympic sailors.“You can spend a lot of time fussing and worrying about how you fund your good guys for Olympics and promoting them."But if you don’t have those guys around and you don’t have the solid club level sailing it’s hard for those guys to develop anyway.“I think there’s a lot to be said for really trying to get the club sailing to be a bit more active. Certainly Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) and Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) have lots of active sailing programmes with lots of people coming to them. But it would be great to see the smaller traditional sailing clubs have a bit more activity on the sailing side.”BSA’s full executive now consists of president Siese, vice-president George Hayward and treasurer Leatrice Roman.• Charles Penruddocke was elected as president of Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association (BODA) during the association’s AGM.Former president Anthony Bailey opted not to seek re-election, leaving Penruddocke to run unopposed for the vacant post.Veteran sailor Tim Patton was elected as vice-president after running unopposed while Mary-Lynn Larson and John Buckley were returned as secretary and treasurer after also running unopposed.