The Cayman Islands Sailing Club has expanded its fleet with the purchase of 18 new training dinghies.

Club members, sponsors and government officials attended a dedication event for the dinghies from Hartley Boats on Monday, 24 May, at the sailing facility in Red Bay. Among the attendees was Sports Minister Bernie Bush, who spoke at the ceremony.

“We all know that the sea holds a special place in this nation’s heart,” Bush said. “Sailing is in our DNA, which is probably why we, only half-jokingly, admit to having saltwater in our veins.”

The sailing club’s commodore Alan Roffey told the Compass that the new boats, which he said cost just under $170,000, will enable more people, including students, to participate in one of Cayman’s founding sports.

“The future is looking very bright for our sport,” said Roffey. “We have a great number of young kids that are sailing and are already advanced Optimist sailors. This… will expand our capabilities in the summer camps and some of the larger schools, being able to get more students on the water to learn the skills of sailing.”

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Carina James, 16, is one young person who will be sailing the new boats. She spends most Fridays at the club, she said, adding that the new boats were very welcome.

“This is a good opportunity to get more expertise,” James told the Compass. “My great-grandfather was a seaman, so it’s really nice to learn about my heritage.”

James said her aim is not to be a professional sailor, but she does want to continue getting out on the water. “I would love to do it as a hobby or even come here and volunteer,” she said.

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