By Christopher Tobutt
Formed back in 1965, the Cayman Islands Sailing Club has a rich history of training Cayman’s young people for world-class sailing success. Now that heritage of training and nurturing young Caymanians is set to continue, as the Club purchased a fleet of new state-of-the-art Hartley student sailing dinghies in May last year, and now has brought the first of two AB RIB (Reinforced Inflatable Boats), thanks to generous sponsors and a super-successful Summer Gala and Auction. . The club needs these boats for coaches to use, so that they can nip in and out, and around the little sailing boats that the clubs’ youngsters learn on, giving instructions and being there just in case someone falls in.
“We have youth sailing programmes that are run from here for government schools and for individuals, and we’ve created several Olympians through this programme,” said Alan Roffey, the Club Commodore. “Our coach boats have got too old and their repair costs have got too high. So we started some fundraising efforts to buy two new coach boats.” The first boat is a lovely 15-foot long RIB (Reinforced Inflatable Boat) powered by a 40 HP engine. Its price was around 23,000 dollars. It was spotted by one of the club members on the parking lot of Automotive Arts in George Town, Mr. Roffey said. Fundraising got off to a great start when the club put out some invitations to some of the people who have helped before. “The first donation covered the cost of the boat,” he said, “and then we held our Summer Gala and auction, and managed to raise 30,000 dollars through the auction, enough for another boat just like that one.” They are going to see how they get along with the first boat, and whether it is just what they
Former Sailing Club Commodore Tim Ridley remembers when the Sailing Club was first formed by the Westin, what was then known as Galleon Beach, before moving to its present location in the North Sound, and so he is thrilled to see the Club expanding, with its smart fleet of Hartley student boats, and now the lovely new coach boats, too. “These RIBs are fantastic,” he said, “They’re reliable, not too expensive and the coaches love them, because they can haul the kids over the side easily when they tip over in their sailboats, and also because they are made of soft material, if you happen to have a collision with a small dingy which is capsized, it won’t damage the boat, which is excellent for the club. There were photos taken as a bottle of champagne was used to christen the new boat, before it was hauled out to the North Sound and given a thorough testing.
Former Club Secretary of 13 years, Patricia Cunningham said, “I think this is wonderful, and I think that the coaches are going to love it, because they’ve been operating out of boats which are very inadequate that are very old, for the last couple of years. I think that the sailing club is a fun place, and its very important that we support the children especially in their achievements. They’re doing very well internationally as well as in their races and we need to continue supporting them.”
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