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Young sailors navigate Grenadines waters

Young sailors navigate Grenadines waters

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Some 20 young, aspiring sailors from Bequia, harnessed gusty winds and navigated choppy waters, and successfully sailed from the Northern Grenadines island to the Young Island Resort on Sunday.{{more}}

The young men, along with their instructors, sailed six sailboats to St Vincent, displaying some of the skills they have acquired since joining the Bequia Youth Sailing Programme.

Andrew Mitchell, one of the founders of the programme, said it is a way of getting the young boys off the streets at an early age and teaching them to do something useful with their time.

Mitchell told SEARCHLIGHT that over 200 youths have been trained since the inception of the programme almost two years ago.

He added that about 10 to 15 of them attend training regularly.

“They just love sailing. We will just love to see Bequia get expanded and get more recognised in the world…” Mitchell said.

He said the boys have sailed to Canouan and Carriacou, but it was the first time they sailed to St Vincent.

“Today was just really great for them. The weather was right and the boys handled themselves very well on the waters,” he said.

Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, who was entertained by some of the boys’ sailing skills, greeted the young sailors.

Mitchell further indicated that they have already selected three of their best sailors to represent St Vincent at the International Youth Sailing Regatta in Puerto Rico in February 2013.

He said he hopes that more residents of Bequia and St Vincent get more involved and support them, so they can aspire to reach to higher international levels.

Co-founder and sailing coach Christian Sehrivja said the idea of the club came about because there was no sailing programme in Bequia.

He said that the young sailors handled themselves well, despite the choppy waters.

“They have been really grateful for the extensive training they have received. We are teaching them how to interact with other kids and the importance of responsibility…” Sehrivja said.

“They have done really well, and of course, there is room for improvement, so I see a bright future ahead.”

SEARCHLIGHT also spoke with the three young sailors who were chosen to go to Puerto Rico.

Oreakay Joseph, 12, said he has been sailing for two years and just loves everything about sailing.

“I feel really good that I am getting to go to Puerto Rico and I am going to give my best…” he said.

Reon Ollivierre, 13, who has been sailing for the past seven months, said he loves sailing in the strong winds and learning new things everyday.

Dession Stowe, 15, said one of his friends pushed him into sailing at age 13 and he has never looked back.

“I learned how to judge wind direction and I just like going to different places…” he said.

The Governor General told SEARCHLIGHT that he saw the programme in Bequia and thought it would be a great idea to have them sail to St Vincent.

“I thought it was just a great idea to get them off the streets and give them something to do by teaching them a skill which they can seek employment from later on in life,” Sir Frederick said. (KW)

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