In the news with the National Sailing Academy
It is six months or so since our last Newsletter, and the Academy is still progressing towards its goal of 500 children a week learning to sail.
This takes place at the Antigua Yacht Club which is operating at capacity with 150 children per week having sponsored lessons. We now need, therefore, to move ahead with the installation of our two planned satellites at Parham Fisheries on the East Coast and Jolly Harbour on the west coast.
Permission has been given by the development company C.D.A.L. and Mr Charles Kenlock of Jolly Harbour Marina for us to create the necessary infra-structure. The piles have been driven to support the launch ramp for the dinghies and the boats will be housed in a fenced compound provided by C.D.A.L. We have still to construct the launch ramp and plans for this are in hand.
At Parham we also need to construct a launch ramp and a secure compound for the boats. We will be renovating and extending the existing shelter for storage of ancillary equipment. We have now received a promise of funding to cover the construction costs of both satellite projects from Mr Peter Harrison of the Harrison Foundation. We are also delighted to announce that the Mill Reef Charity Fund have offered to support our first year running costs at Parham. Thanks to the generosity of both these organizations we hope to have the Parham Sailing Academy operational for the new school year of September 2012.
Of course, this expansion means that we need another fleet of Optimist and Pico dinghies at Parham Harbour as well as a safety boat.
Thanks to Mr Mark Fitzgerald, Captain of Sojana, we have acquired a mould to build our own glassfibre Optimist dinghies. Our plan is to teach a group of teenagers during the school summer holidays how to build their own boats. This will not only drastically reduce the cost per dinghy but will also teach these young people a skill which will lead to opportunities for employment in the Yachting Industry. Mr Peter Smith, who is an expert in glass fibre construction, has offered to donate his time to support the project.
With regard to the Picos, we need to acquire a new fleet from scratch and we are well on the way to this with one sponsored by E-Sea-Clear and one from Schooner ‘This Is Us’ as well as a promise from ‘S/Y Gloria’. We need a further 7 Picos to complete the fleet. If there are any yachts / companies / individuals that would consider sponsoring a Pico please let us know.
Our thanks go to M.Y. Leander for the donation of two ‘Sea Cadet’ -four-man plus coxswain -rowing boats – rowing is a very useful skill for youngsters to learn and we are very grateful for this addition to our fleet. We are also planning to use these boats in an Oxford / Cambridge type rowing contest where teams of five from various yachts enter heats leading up to a championship.
S.Y. NAHLIN has donated a couple of awesome 2 man dinghies – complete with carbon rigs and spinnakers.
These boats were used to run the successful Hi-Ho Fun regatta in November when we introduced the ‘Rent-a-Brat’ scheme where several of our cadet sailors were partnered with adults and had their first racing experience. The pair’s class was won by Paula Victoria and Rocco Falcone. Rocco also won the junior single handed.
We have some really exciting prospects – Rocco Falcone & Louis Bavay went, in January, to the Fort Lauderdale Boomerang Optimist Regatta. Rocco came 2nd in a class of 28 and Louis came 3rd in a class of 27. We are planning for them, along with Rhone Kirby (age 13) to attend the St.Thomas Optimist Regatta in June and the Optimist World Championships in Santo Domingo in July 2012.
The Antigua Laser National championships took place in perfect conditions over the weekend of 10th/11th March. Thirteen excellent Laser sailors from all corners of the world competed with our local sailors including several young sailors trained through the Antigua National Sailing Academy.
The competition was fierce over the seven races held over the two days with only two points dividing first and second place and the top six sailors getting at least one second or better place. Competition was particularly close between our own Olympic sailor Karl James and Irish Olympian Tim Goodbody with Karl winning three races and Tim two. All competitors, whether senior or junior, enjoyed some good close sailing with the whole fleet only minutes apart at all times. Academy sailor Hosea Williams was awarded 1st Junior.
Our only keel boat so far, the Cork1720, donated by Mr Richard Matthews has now been named ‘Challenger’ by Digicel who have agreed to sponsor the boat for 3 years. It is being sailed by a team of Cadets aged 12 to 19 years. This is a wonderful opportunity for our young sailors to progress from dinghies to Keel Boats. Their first racing event was at the Jolly Harbour Annual Regatta in November where they performed credibly but did not make the podium. They were the only boat in the entire regatta however flying a spinnaker. They also raced in the Hightide series achieving a second place in one of the races and entered the Nelson’s Pursuit race - they were doing really well until they were forced to retire due to rigging failure.
All came good, however, at the Jolly Harbour Valentines Regatta in mid February where, after six races, they achieved first place overall in racing class – incidentally beating High Tension which has just finished racing in the RORC Caribbean 600.
Swimming lessons are also operating at capacity at Swalings Swim Club, Jolly Harbour with 600 children per week learning to swim. The Academy has previously sponsored 260 of these and we will be looking to fund more lessons this year.
THE HARE & TORTOISE CHARITY SWIM
Took place on Sunday 26th February and was a great success. Notwithstanding the very gusty winds and choppy seas, some 70 swimmers took to the water at the Cat Club and swam the 0.75 miles to Pigeon Beach. Competition was fierce amongst the ‘Hares (age 16 – 49) and the Tortoises (age 50 – 69) but they were no match for the juniors. The youngest competitor was just 6 years old and the overall winner was just 15 years old. The Swim is organised by the ‘Anchorage’ in English Harbour and this year proceeds of nearly EC$6,000 were donated to the National Sailing Academy.
DINNER & CABARET – “WELCOME TO BURLESQUE” – SATURDAY 31ST MARCH
Under the stars, on the lawn behind the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel in Nelson’s Dockyard. This is a fundraising event for the Academy and will feature a 3 course French menu, with French wines. The Cabaret will be “Welcome to Burlesque”.
Tickets are U$70/EC180 each available from the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel (460 1058) or the Antigua Yacht Club (460 1799) from 1st March.
Now we are mid-season and, again, support from the visiting yachts has been fantastic. So far, over 70 yachts have donated to the programme this season. We still have several weeks of the season left and many yachts to visit, particularly with the major events such as Classic Yacht Regatta and Sailing Week on the horizon. We ask all yachts to donate US$1 per foot of length overall per year. We will visit as many yachts as possible but any yacht wishing to spare our shoe leather is welcome to visit the yacht club office or telephone with credit card details. We hope that we can count on future support. Donations can be made by cash/cheque/wire transfer/credit card etc. and details for this can be found on our website.
All of our Friends & Sponsors are listed on our website and we are very grateful for their support - without which the Academy could not exist.
You can view the complete newsletter as a PDF by clicking here.