As the number of students who have learned to sail at the NSA increases, and they continue to return to Saturday sailing, interest in racing has grown. With that in mind in January we hosted our first Fun Regatta. To date we have hosted five fun regattas, missing only one to allow all of the students to participate in Antigua Sailing Week. The next event will take place on August 28th. The Fun Day will include the Back to School Regatta, a Treasure Hunt by Car and a Dock Party.
Please continue reading to see some of the hi-lights from those events and an update on what’s been happening at the NSA this year.
Para Team Win in our first Open RS Venture Race
Home grown para team Jurmin Jones and Ronald Greenaway made history at the June Fun Regatta and Dock Party competing for the first time in the RS Venture class and winning it! They had been training together for only a few weeks, having both started their sailing experiences in Hansa 303’s late last year. Of their success, Senior Instructor and coach Joshua Daniels said, “After putting in extra hours on the water for race training its nice to see them out on top. I am super proud of them.’ The duo were delighted to be awarded the coveted Locman watch from the Mare range for their win.
Of the experience Greenaway said, ‘It’s an interesting challenge given both of us have limited mobility but we work as a team and play to each-others strengths. I look forward to training more and seeing how we can improve.’ Jurmin's signature wide smile stayed with him until the end of the day.
A great day of racing was enjoyed by 30 sailors across three classes: RS Ventures, RS Fevas and RS Zests & Terras. Winner in the RS Zest Class was Malik Charles, who has dominated in the class since the start of the fun regattas, and the RS Feva class was won by Deshante Durand and Jahvorn Hector who have sailed together for a number of years.
First Women Only Regatta held in May
The National Sailing Academy took part in Steering the Course. The Women's Sailing Festival on 28th May and switched up the Fun Regatta to a women’s only event with more than fifty women enjoying the time on the water. Try sail sessions, Kayak races and the first Women’s Dinghy Regatta were all part of a fantastic day.
The first Kayak race included six paddlers who raced from the NSA dinghy dock to Blake Island, around it and back again. The race was won by Ruleta Camacho- Thomas in an amazing 29 minutes and the shorter course rounding the channel marker at the Catamaran Marina was won by Diedy Minors in 23 mins.
Following three groups of Try Sailing women enjoying a cruise around the harbour for the first time, eight teams lined up on the start line for the Women’s Regatta. Three teams raced RS Ventures, with Christen Potter taking first place, and of the five teams racing RS Zests, Imani John Polanco and Isla Brookes came first. As helm, Imani was the lucky winner of a Locman Italy watch from the Mare range.
It was all smiles as a group shot was taken and lots of happy women promised to return to continue to improve their sailing skills.
Women Continue to Shine
Ex-instructors Junella King and Alesea Charles enjoyed a once in a life time experience when they set sail from Dubai earlier this year, and sailed through the Suez Canal onwards to Palma onboard Maiden Factor. The duo then got to enjoy a much needed break. Junella rejoined the team in New York after competing in Antigua Sailing Week and the Star Sailors League, and is now touring the East Coast of the United States as the team continue their mission of inspiring women to get involved in sailing, education and leadership positions.
Their progress can be followed on their website.
Tall Ships Ahoy
Last week our current RYA Instructor Tajanica Thomas took flight to the UK along with Jay Louisor, both selected by the West Indies Sail Heritage Foundation to take part in the Tall Ship Races 2022 in Harlingen, Netherlands. They will join sail training vessel Patricia with skipper Dirk Gunst.
The programme is a small test programme this year which will hopefully lead to a bigger opportunity for more students to gain this experience in years to come. The project is being lead by UK national Daniel Holdsworth who has taken developing Sail Training opportunities for Caribbean youths under his wing. He activated the Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust and used his networks to form a collaboration with the Oman Bursary and support from the West Indies Sail Heritage Foundation to make it possible. We look forward to hearing about Tajanicas adventures and her inspiring others to have similar experiences in years to come.
The Atlantic Dash
Still in the early stages, but two of our female students, Lily Barkoye, also one of our RYA Instructors from last years training, and seventeen year old Terriqua Christopher, have formed an Atlantic rowing team with two other young Antiguans, and plan to make the row from the Canaries in a new race, the Atlantic Dash, starting in January 2023.
The race will end in Jolly Harbour Marina and the team is now in the training and planning stages of the event. The window is short to get them to the start line but they are extremely motivated.
Terriqua will be the youngest women to ever make the row. Their team name is 268 Aquatic Challengers and we are delighted to say the National Sailing Academy is one of their chosen charities for fund raising.
Women on Water
We now have a weekly slot specifically reserved for Women who want to learn to sail, or who can sail and want to enjoy the fellowship of other women. Aptly named Women on Water, sailing takes place every Saturday at 4pm.
New Schools and Associations on Board the Learn to Sail Programme
Over the last year year, despite the challenges of a stop start year as schools and individual students continued to suffer with the fall out from COVID, we NSA was lucky enough to enrol a number of new schools and associations on the programme.
Secondary schools included Ottos Comprehensive and Clarehall Secondary. Both groups have had healthy numbers of students attending.
Last year the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force brought a group from their Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which sees up to 30 youths a week attending. Added to this a small group from Girl Guides. started attending earlier in the year.
In the past three weeks for the summer programme we have finally welcomed the Sir Andy Roberts Community Foundation with a summer group which has been vastly oversubscribed. Currently 15 students are attending each Monday and from this week Tuesday’s will be added to the programme. By the end of the summer holidays we hope that the programme, which set out to promote the importance and opportunities to learn to sail from both a recreational and a career point of view for residents of the St Mary’s community will encourage schools in the area to sign on to the programme.
Thank you to Ronald Greenaway
In spite of the challenges of COVID, the Sailability programme has continued to operate consistently with students from the Victory Centre, Adele School and Friends of the Care Project continuing with weekly classes.
One casualty of COVID was the National Rehabilitation Centre which closed in 2020 when the crisis hit, and has not yet re-opened. With that said, with the ties that the NSA had with the some of the programme leaders, we were able to organise to keep some of the sailors attending. A small group who were able to get to the NSA independently continued to attend and then our Sailability Director, Bob Bailey, began outreach into the community along with Ronald Greenaway, programme manager.
Due to Bob and Ronalds’ hard work we are now able to bring some of the adults to the NSA. Ronald is now operating twice a week in the Sailability Bus to ensure they can continue to enjoy the benefits of sailing. We hope to grow the number of adults who can attend this coming school year.
A big thank you to Ronald for his support and consistency in the programme as without him we wouldn’t be reaching many of the vulnerable people who are unable to get to the NSA without transport.
While we were still reeling from the impact of COVID protocols on the operation in general, for the third year running we were unable to host our huge Sailability Super Sunday. A disappointment for many of the students because they love the day, but also an issue for the NSA financially, because the funds generated from it, have always been vital to operations.
We were therefore very lucky that a member of the community, Sophie Brookes, who has worked in yachting for many years, created a wonderful and fun day bringing together Superyacht crews before they left for the season.
The main event was the Superyacht Race - the Dinghy Edition, with extra points for great costumes. With the start of the RS Zest Race being at the beginning of our dinghy dock, and the boats at the end, you can imagine the antics in play before the racing even started. Back on dry land, Sophie along with her amazing family hosted an afternoon of fun and games for the kids including a bake sale and raffle. The day raised an incredible EC$13,000. A big thank you to Sophie from all of us at the Academy. Without support from individuals like Sophie we would not be able to do what we do.
Antigua Sailing Week & Youth to Keel
For the third year in its history, the National Sailing Academy students were invited to take part in Antigua Sailing Week through the Youth to Keel initiative.
There were 40 students and alumni from the NSA and Antigua Yacht Club who were on the water during the week, with individual students having a keel boat racing experience, in many cases for the first time.
Training took place at the NSA prior to the week for those who had only sailed in dinghies, to give them the basis skills and understanding needed.
ASW were lucky to bring Axxess Marine on board as sponsors of the Y2K Race Day ensuring the youths were branded up in cool gear.
The alumni, being the students who had raced in previous years, formed the majority of crews competing in the Sports Boat Class. It was one of the most competitive classes in the regatta with first place being hotly pursued and changing hands on a daily basis.
Eventually, NSA Spirit were again victorious beating GFA Caraibes from Martinique, who were the team to beat. Congratulations to skipper Jules Mitchell who continues to grow in his role as skipper and lead his crew very professionally. He then went to compete in the Star Sailors League in Switzerland, where the team made it through to the finals which will be held in Bahrain later this year.
Malik Charles Campaign on Liquid
As a student of All Saint’s Secondary School and student who learned to sail on our School Programme, Malik Charles was disappointed that the NSA would not be entering a second boat into the regattas this year as he has previously raced on board NSA Challenger with skipper Joshua Daniels.
With the help of Joshua, also one of our Senior Instructors, Malik was offered the opportunity to race the Caribbean 600 onboard J122 Liquid. A trophy winning boat over the last few seasons, owner Pamala Baldwin was so pleased with his performance and attititude that she invited him to race the rest of the Caribbean season as part of the crew.
He continued to work really well as part of the crew and for the season the boat won:
Best Caribbean Boat in the Caribbean 600
1st in Class for CSA 7 at St. Maarten Heineken Regatta & overall winner of the Regatta
3rd in Class for CSA 3 at the BVI Spring Regatta
3rd in Class for CSA 4 at Les Voiles de St. Barth
2nd in Class for CSA 4 at Antigua Sailing Week
Congratulations to Malik for putting in the hard work and being such a great new addition to their team.
We have just finalised selection for this years Dinghy Instructor Course. The first two students T’Quan and Patrick have completed their Power Boat and First Aid Certificates at Ondeck and are actively volunteering weekly as well as getting additional training by Chief Instructor Sylvester Thomas and his team.
We look forward to monitoring their progress over the coming months and hope to hold the offiicial RYA course in November, when we will also bring in the RYA instructors to do our first in person annual RYA Recognition check in three years.
Recently, three of our instructors, Joshua Daniels, Xavier Athill and Jahmarley Edwards completed their Introduction to Deisel Engines at Ondeck.
Thank you to Ondeck for their continued support of our training programmes.
The Royal Visit
The National Sailing Academy, and specifically the Sailability Programme was selected to be a key part of the Royal Visit which took place on April 25th this year as part of the celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee.
Prince Edward and his wife Sophie were charming guests and visited the NSA during their whirlwind tour of the island which also included a trip to Government House, the Sir Viv Richards Stadium and Clarence House.
For their visit to the NSA Deputy Parks Commissioner Ruleta Camacho Thomas and Historian Dr. Chris Waters welcomed them to the area and gave them some insight to the maritime history of the area. Karl James, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Sailing Association, then brought them up to date with sailing in Antigua.
President and Founder Elizabeth Jordan then lead the tour with the rest of the team to showcase the Sailability Programme. We took the opportunity for them to meet as many of our students and instructors as possible while explaining the different boats we use that are built specifically for differently-abled people, had adult sailors rigging and launching their own boats, Adele students enjoying land drills and showcased the winch system we use to board people from wheelchairs into the RS Ventures. As Patron for the Association of Sail Training Associations (ASTA) in the UK, Sophie was very engaged with the students as was Prince Edward, also a life long sailor. the Prince is also the patron of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and so they both enjoyed the race which involved students from the programme.
Before leaving they got the opportunity to meet and chat with many of the nationals who had competed in the Atlantic Challenge, including our founder's husband, Peter Smith.
The Queens Baton Relay
The NSA was chosen as a venue on the 294 day journey to Birmingham 2022. President Elizabeth Jordan was picked to hold the baton on its arrival at the NSA where it was handed to her by the Governor General, also our patron.
Elizabeth then headed out for a quick tour of the bay with students on board before alighting and walking along the road to hand the baton off to representatives of the Riding School.
Thank you to our Sponsors
We have received some amazing support from continuing and new sponsors this year. A huge thank you to the Jumby Bay Homeowners Foundation and the Mill Reef Fund for their continued support.
The Jumby Bay Homeowners Foundation donated money for us to buy a new school bus. Now at the end of its life, we have finally placed the order and are awaiting delivery of our ‘new to us’ school bus which will enable us to continue picking up our students year round.
The Mill Reef Fund support our training projects as mentioned above, and ensure that not only do the students with aptitude get to the opportunity for new skills but also the school is continually able to employ new talent as instructors move on to different roles in the Industry.
Locman Watches came on board to sponsor our Fun Regattas. As a small watch brand from Italy and sponsors of both the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week, they wanted to support sailig development as being from the island of Elba, in Italy, they understand the importance and value of yachting and careers in yachting to the local population. It has added an exciting new element to the monthly prize givings. The watches are given to different classes each event and not always to the winning boat, but awarding great sportspersonship also.
Antigua Beach House came on board as a new sponsor this year and their donation along with the money earned by the Superyacht Fundraiser has gone to installing a very much-needed new shade on the dinghy dock. The shade is necessary for use as an outdoor classroom, a waiting area for helpers and parents while their charges are on the water and a space we can use to raise funds for events and regattas. Antigua Beach House also kindly included information about our programme in their newsletter to customers around the world. We are very grateful for the additional and much-needed exposure.
The Wishing Well Foundation has again supported the Victory Center by sponsoring their entire year's tuition. The sponsorship is a big help in ensuring we can keep the programme running. Kelly and her students were very thankful for the support from the foundation.
The Antigua Hash House Harriers based their annual Red Dress Hash at the NSA and ran around the superyacht docks, marinas and restaurants in English Harbour and collected money for ABSAR and the NSA. A fun fashion show followed and plans to develop this into a bigger event this coming year.
A number of sponsors also came on board to sponsor Sailability. Thank you to: BWA Yachting Antigua, Barnes Funeral, Falmouth Harbour Marina, Jolly Harbour Yacht Club, Lucky Eddis, National Parks Authority, Crabhole Liquors, Admirals Inn, Jolly Harbour Marina, AS Brydens, Antigua Yacht Club, North Sails, Seagull Inflatables, Antigua Sails, Southpoint, Woodstock Boatbuilders, A&F Sails, Anjo Insurances, Nicholson Yacht Charters, CG Construction, Titi Rent-A-Car and Grant Thornton.
We sincerely thank each and everyone of our donors, customers and tenants. Together, we are able to continue to support the programme and ensure together we grow the number of Antiguans and Barbudans involved in the yachting industry.
Upcoming Projects and Funding
Anyone running a sailing school or programme (or any type of educational programme) will know that there is a constant focus on maintenance and development just to stand still, let alone grow.
Over the next twelve months we will be focussing on the following:
- Sailability: We have the opportunity to send sailors to the Rs Venture World Championship. This is slated to take place in the Netherlands in August 2023. To ensure we support training at a significant enough level both in terms of quality and quantity over the next year, kit them out and get them there, the cost will be around US$25,000. A huge sum to invest, but equally we believe the focus it will bring to the programme and the possibilities it will inspire our students will be very worthwhile.
- Boats: Lots of use comes with lots of maintenance and our learn to sail boats are starting to show the wear and tear despite the rolling maintenance programme.
- We need to place orders for new RS Zests which are the main double handed boat we use for the schools programme. Each boat will cost about US$5000 plus shipping. Eventually we need 10 boats to replace the current fleet.
- RS Ventures are probably our most flexible boat - they are the mainstay of the Sailability programme as the RS Venture SCS connect is the boat which can be fitted with two bucket seats that we winch people with limited mobility into, to ensure they can safely enjoy a sail around the harbour, and is also the boat that Jurmin and Ronald are learning to race in. They have a joystick steering system in place which allows full control of the boat without having to move around the boat.
- The RS Venture is also the boat we use for group school lessons for Sailability for both the Victory Centre and the Adele School and are also fantastic boats for adults to Learn to Sail and Race in. Their flexiblity means they are constantly in use and as we grow we want to purchase two more. Each boat is US$17500 plus shipping.
- Schools Programme - In 2022/3 we want to grow the number of schools we are teaching. To date we usually have one school per session - one at 2pm and the second at 3.30pm each week day afternoon. We have trialled having two schools on property and would therefore like to start doubling up on numbers as we get more demand from different schools to join the programme. It will of course mean more cost as we need more instructors. Our teaching ratio is a maximum of 1 instructor to 6 students but can sometimes be lower due to the needs of the group. We have calculated that the cost of us teaching one school for an average 30 week term is EC$10,000 per school.
- The Lodge - our on site accommodation is an old building which comes with the expected set of challenges. With that said the revenue we earn from it goes to paying the rent for the property and so is vital to us being able to maintain our location which is so good for us to teach from. In order that we can keep the revenue coming in, we need to do some signficant refurbishments in the rooms and to the infrastructure.
- The Summer Programme Continues: RYA Group Classes are in session - EC$500 for nationals and one on one classes for EC$675.
- Moonlight Kayaking - each month we take out a group of up to 18 kayakers to enjoy sunset and a full moon. The next event is on August 12th. The cost is EC$75 per person and is single and double kayaks.
- End of Summer Party - taking place on August 28th, it will consist of the Back to School Regatta, Treasure Hunt & Dock Party - sailing will start at 11am and be across all of our classes, RS Zests, RS Fevas, Optimists, Lasers and the Big Boat Classes which all start together and include RS Ventures, RS Visions, Laser 300 and the Laser Vago.
For land lubbers we will also host our Treasure Hunt by Car - starting from 11am cars will leave every 15 minutes up to 1.30 pm. that way everyone has time to hunt (or race) and be back to enjoy the dock party and prize givings.
Race entry fees are EC$25 kids / EC$50 for adults.
Treasure Hunt entry fees are EC$75 per car.To register for any of the above, please whats app 780-1345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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