Solent drizzle doesn’t dampen spirit of first-time sailors
The grey clouds may have loomed, but nothing was going to prevent the very first group of young people taking part in the Portsmouth Sailing Project from enjoying every second of their sailing adventure.
The Project, which has brought together the 1851 Trust and the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, will give children throughout the city and surrounding area the chance to experience sailing on the same stretch of water as the world-class teams battling it out in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth events in 2015 and 2016. Best of all, each 3 hour session is entirely free.
Thanks to funding from Travis Perkins plc, who are also an official partner to America’s Cup World Series in the City, the summer-long programme got underway today. First out on the water was a group of youngsters, drawn from seven different schools across the City, who all attend Positive Activity sessions provided by local charity Motiv8.
Jon McCabe, Portsmouth Service Manager for Motiv8 commented: “None of the young people we brought along had sailed before, and some were nervous at the start. It was fantastic to see just how much they enjoyed themselves by the end of the session and how much they’d learned.”
John Carter, CEO of Travis Perkins plc, commented: “Travis Perkins plc is excited to be supporting the 1851 Trust’s Portsmouth Sailing project, which will enable up to 1,000 young people from diverse backgrounds to take part in amazing sailing experiences. The programme is designed to inspire, build confidence and develop new skills and complements our ‘building better, together’ ethos perfectly.”
The group set sail from the Camber, just a few metres away from the home of Land Rover BAR, the location from where Sir Ben Ainslie is launching the British challenge for the 35th America’s Cup on at the World Series event.
The novice sailors practised hoisting the jib with their expert instructors and took it turns to helm as some of the world’s best sailors put in last minute training all around them. Team Oracle USA responded to enthusiastic waving and cheering from the group as they passed their temporary base at the Historic Dockyard with whoops of delight. “It was a really fun day. I’d definitely like to do again” said Dennis Oppong (age 13).
Places on the programme are filling fast, but there’s still time to enrol. Parents and guardians of children aged 9 – 13 from Portsmouth and the surrounding area can book sessions on line at www.portsmouthsailingproject.org