Be inspired: SailGP determined to leave lasting legacy for Bermuda’s youth
The Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess may have come to an end but SailGP is determined to leave a lasting legacy for the island’s youth.
While any major trace of the eight nations who competed in the Season 2 opener are all but packed up and on their way to Taranto, Italy, for the second round, remnants of the event are still present as the SailGP Inspire initiative attempts to lay foundations for future generations, just as the Endeavour programme did after the conclusion of the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.
The most significant of which came from a partnership between SailGP Inspire and Endeavour, who joined forces in an online fundraiser auction, presented by Sir Russell Coutts, the SailGP chief executive, to support future pathways and initiatives for youth sailing in Bermuda with a focus on improving access for young people who may not otherwise have the opportunity.
“The biggest thing that has been done is the virtual auction,” said Tom Herbert-Evans, SailGP’s youth programme manager. “Each team donated items for the auction which finished on April 26 and the funds raised so far are looking really healthy.
“Those funds will have a direct impact on youth in Bermuda and will be used in a number of different ways, including through scholarships that will help increase career pathways and opportunities going forward.
“For those who have been part of the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme or Endeavour Assistant Instructor Programme, the funds will help us to be able to send some of them to other SailGP events and venues this season to further their experience and possible career in the sport.
“That means that graduates from local clubs in Bermuda may have the chance to join us at other events and work with an actual team doing things like rigging and gain actual experience in an area that they have a particular interest in.
“We’ve also had a number of children go through things like a mentored videography experience and others in areas such as carbon boat building.
“While the event in Bermuda has finished, there are things still happening to help create legacy opportunities for the island’s youth to continue their progression within sailing.”
As well as on-shore experiences and opportunities being created, SailGP are also aiming to leave a legacy for Bermuda’s youth on the water.
Along with each of the eight teams gifting various packages, including kit, to Bermuda’s sailing clubs, the most notable item left behind was the donation of a high-performance Waszp foiling training boat.
A total of 16 youth sailors were given the opportunity to trial the dinghy as part of an initiative and with foiling being such a standout feature of not only SailGP but the future of sailing itself, Herbert-Evans is hopeful the donation will continue to allow local youngsters early access to something they might not have had otherwise.
“Foiling has been one of the most incredible developments in the sport within the last decade or so,” he said. “Being able to sail a foiling boat is so incredibly exciting, but the big issue is that the cutting-edge equipment can be really expensive and so very few young sailors have the opportunity to try it out.
“We know that foiling is such a big part of the future of sailing and so hopefully by leaving the training foiling boat behind we can set the wheels in motion to leave a legacy for young sailors.
“It should enable in helping big parts of the community who may not be able to afford such equipment to have a chance to learn to sail on it.
“Our hope is that when we come back in the future we will see more participation in sailing because young people will hopefully become interested in the sport through foiling.
“The beauty of Bermuda as well is that it has the perfect venue for foiling in the Great Sound. Having a venue that like is so exciting because it is just perfect and hopefully we can encourage more and more young sailors to try out foiling.”