Sailors land government support

The Cayman Islands government is helping youngsters strive for their dreams in sailing.

Four young sailors from the Cayman Sailing Programme took part in the Race Cayman 2012 competition, proving the success of the Ministry of Sports and the Cayman Islands Sailing Centre’s joint sailing development initiative.

Allena Rankine (11), Finley McDougal (12), Pablo Bertran (14) and Florence Allen (14) all honed their skills over the last few weeks and represented the Cayman Islands in the Optimist racing class at the international regatta. Sailing Centre head coach Raphael Harvey, who has had help from staff members like Kalvin Browne, feels their growth is motivation for others.

“Some came through the government school sailing programme, others were introduced to sailing through the after-school sailing programme,” Harvey said. “They were identified as future racers through the Talent Identification Program of Sailing and we are very proud to say that all the above sailors have learned to sail right here at the Cayman Islands Sailing Centre.

“TIPS is a by-product of the government sailing programme and was designed to identify sailors who have shown potential and enthusiasm for sailing and give them more coaching and much needed time out on the water. After each five to six weeks sailing rotation, the six standout sailors are invited to sail for another six weeks of coaching free of charge.”

About 600 government school students go through the sailing programme each year. A further 47 students are sailing in the centre’s after-school programme where levels vary from complete beginners to intermediate racing.

“The sailing programme is one of my ministry’s most successful sports development programmes and I am glad to see our young sailors excel,” says Minister of Sports the Hon. Mark Scotland. “With our seafaring past, it is important that our young people have access to sailing and in partnership with the centre we are fortunate to have a free introductory programme to all government school students.

“With the sailing programme on track, we hope to see many more sailors representing the Cayman Islands in future races.”

Race Cayman 2012 ran all of last week with competing crews from the US, Jamaica, Bahamas, the UK, Norway, Germany and South Africa. In addition to J22 Racing, Race Cayman 2012 included the Open and Western Caribbean Optimist Championships with young sailors visiting from Bahamas, Jamaica, British Virgin Islands and the US.

The Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture and HSBC (Cayman) Ltd were the principal sponsors. Other sponsors included Flowers Bottled Water, Cayman Islands Sailing Club, Cayman Motor Museum, the Water Authority, Caribbean Canvas Company, Jacques Scott, Schloss Johannisberg Wines and the J22 fleet owners.

Looking ahead, Jane Moon of the sailing entre is turning old sails into designer beach bags and back packs. All funds raised through the sale of these bags will go towards supporting the local sailing programmes. Anyone with old, unused sails can drop them off at the club.

For more information, contact Jane Moon at [email protected]