The America’s Cup is teaming up with some of the biggest names in the marine industry to launch an ambitious Community Sailing Project, with a focus on leaving a sporting legacy in Bermuda. “This is an exciting project that builds on something we started during the last America’s Cup,” said Russell Coutts, the CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). “We’ve enlisted the support and assistance of some of the great players in our industry who share our view that it is important to give back and create a positive legacy not just from events like the America’s Cup but the marine industry in general.”
The Community Sailing Project is built on three main pillars:
First, and most importantly, an educational initiative: the STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) themed around sailing and the America’s Cup. This includes modules on everything from health and nutrition to the math and physics behind sailing and yacht design. The STEM program will initially be aimed at 8-12 year olds.
Second: Youth Sailing – quite simply this is aimed at providing an experience in boats for kids aged between 8-12 years old, in Bermuda. It will also give these kids access to tour the ORACLE TEAM USA base and witness the incredible technology and facilities the team utilizes.
With some great industry partnerships to provide and maintain equipment the goal is to reach kids from all areas of Bermuda and give them the opportunity to try sailing and develop an appreciation of the marine environment. For those who show an enthusiasm for continuing in the sport we want to provide a link between the already established sailing centers and assist them to revamp their youth programs to make their boats available to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have access.
Third: College Sailing internships with ORACLE TEAM USA – In collaboration with the Intercollegiate Sailing Association we are setting up a training/internship program where 10 of the top College Sailors in the United States will be brought in for a five day session each year to train with and learn from ORACLE TEAM USA. Five of the top male and female sailors in the country will come to Bermuda to learn what it takes to become a professional sailor.
Three of the top intercollegiate coaches will also be invited to Bermuda to work with the team and share coaching technology and methods which will multiply the impact of this initiative as they take learnings back and pass them on to other coaches and sailors.
A project of this scale wouldn’t be possible without some of the top names in the industry taking a leadership role.
“The sailing community has thrown its support behind this project in a major way,” Coutts said. “We’re very appreciative that so many share our vision to encourage education and provide opportunities for young people to get engaged with our sport.”
Partners include North Sails, Hobie Cat, BIC Sport, RS Sailing, Harken, Dynamic Dollies and Racks as well as local partners in Bermuda where 20 Optimist dinghies on the island will be upgraded and re-fitted as training boats.
The program will be overseen by a Community Sailing Manager working for the America’s Cup Event Authority. The Community Sailing Project begins in May when the first boats arrive in Bermuda where they will be assembled and tested. By the end of the summer, the first phases of the project will be running with bases and teaching facilities established at both ends of the island.
The Bermuda Community Sailing project is expected to serve as a blueprint for similar programs in other cities and countries to be rolled out over the coming years.