By Christopher Tobutt
Cayman Islands Sailing Club has taken delivery of its new fleet of six Hartley 15 and twelve Hartley 12-2 sail training dinghies. These will form the backbone of the Club’s long running sail training programme for schools, after school and adults for the foreseeable future, according to club Commodore, Alan Roffey. In order to celebrate, the club held a special fleet dedication event, with His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper, and Minister for Sports, Youth, Culture and Heritage, Hon. Bernie Bush in attendance.
Each of the lovely sailing dinghies are larger than the previous ones, and able to hold several people for training purposes. Each one of them has the name of the sponsor, who made the dream of a new fleet possible after the club decided it wanted to purchase the new boats at the end of 2020.
Mr. Bush said: “I am delighted that the Cayman Islands Sailing Club has attracted enough sponsorship to buy 18 training dinghies. We all know that the sea holds a special place in this nation’s heart. Sailing is in our DNA which is probably why we, only half-jokingly, admit to having saltwater in our veins,” he said. Sailing was Cayman’s first Olympic sport, and you can understand why I am so glad to be with you. This club ticks off all the subjects in my ministry, sports, youth, culture and heritage. I wish you all joy with your new fleet of Hartelys, and a fair wind and a following sea for another 56 years of sporting acclaim.”
Commodore Alan Roffey told the story of why the club decided to purchase the new fleet. “Firstly, There was great concern for the fleet of aging boats, that were rapidly reaching the end of its useful life,” he said. Then in September last year, a video of the new Hartley boats was shown to the sailing club committee, who were all very impressed, and, following some success at another fundraising event, enough confidence was gathered to be able to go full steam ahead and find sponsors. Many local people and business owners stepped up and within a matter of weeks, the commitment was there to go ahead and purchase the boats, which arrived in containers at the beginning of May.
“These boats are a step forward for the club, in that they are big enough for larger-framed individuals and can teach more advanced sailing with spinnakers. We hope these boats will challenge our sailors to go much further with their sailing skill sets than they could with single-sail boats. We are planning corporate team building afternoons for the many organizations where the colleagues need to get to know and trust each other, in order to work well together as a team,” Mr. Roffey said.
Governor Martyn Roper said, “I really just want to say congratulations to the sailing club. I’ve got to know you very well in my two and a half years here. Usually when I come to the club I bring bad luck with me because there’s never any wind, so I’m glad to see today that there is a lot of wind. Being here for the arrival of these new Hartley boats is a real privilege. Huge thanks to all the sponsors and those who have made it possible.
The Governor and Mr. Bush then went around each of the boats, dedicating them with a blessing for all who sail in them, and pouring a little sip of Champaign onto the bow of each one.