Scottish America’s Cup sailor inspires Falkirk students to get sailing

INEOS TEAM UK’s America’s Cup sailor, Neil Hunter from the Isle of Arran was on hand to inspire pupils in Falkirk this week. Neil, jumped onboard with pupils who were taking part in the Forth Valley College STEM week in partnership with INEOS Grangemouth.

During the week, pupils were given the opportunity to try sailing for the very first time as part of INEOS’s National sailing initiative – Rebels Crew; which is taking sailing into Britain’s cities.

Neil, who was the youngest competitor at the last America’s Cup held in Bermuda in 2017 explained: “It was awesome to be back up in Scotland to see Rebels Sailing first-hand, it is great to see kids within this local area enjoying themselves and this programme, hopefully they learnt a lot! For a lot of them it was their first day sailing – this is a brilliant opportunity for kids around the UK, I can definitely see some of these kids getting the sailing bug!”

The programme which has been running since April is helping to give hundreds of children from the Edinburgh and Falkirk areas, aged 11-14, the chance to learn to sail over a 10-week period.

Pupil, Oliver Cairns described his first sailing experience: “Today was my very first-time sailing, I really enjoyed it and I would love to do it again. I really enjoyed operating the mainsail and I learnt how much work needs to go into getting the boat afloat as well as teamwork.”

500 free sailing sessions for local schools are being delivered by flagship Centre, Port Edgar Watersports, in partnership with Ainslie’s America’s Cup team’s official charity, the 1851 Trust.

Back in the classroom, the pupils have been inspired about the cutting-edge technology and innovation behind INEOS TEAM UK’s America’s Cup Challenge through the 1851 Trust’s digital education resources – STEM Crew. The week-long programme will conclude with the students building their own micro-boats to race competitively along a four metre ‘watery’ race track and writing up their week’s project work to gain a British Science Association Bronze Crest Award.

Ian Little, INEOS Site Business Development Manager, commented on this week’s event. “It’s fantastic to have INEOS TEAM UK’s official charity, the 1851 Trust supporting this year’s STEM Summer School. They have a wealth of resources that will deliver an informative, fun and challenging week, increasing the students’ knowledge and understanding of the science behind sailing and helping them gain an appreciation of the work by INEOS TEAM UK to challenge for the America’s Cup in 2021.”

The Rebels Crew programme is running in cities around the UK and will teach sailing to 3,000 city children this year. The 1851 Trust is INEOS TEAM UK’s official charity, with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge their Royal Patron.

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