Pelican Bay Hotel supports Summer Sailing Camp
The 2012 Grand Bahama Sailing Club Camp recently came to an end after receiving tremendous community support that allowed many children to be exposed to this relatively new sport to the island.
Some 122 Grand Bahamian children attended the Sailing Camp that spanned a total of eight weeks at the Grand Bahama Sailing Club, June through August. Several sessions were offered with each session being two weeks in length.
"Sailing, a sport that has become available to children on the island right here at home over recent years, has grown tremendously since its early beginning in 2008," said Club director David Valentine.
Children taking part in the camp ranged in ages four to 18. Of those, 52 Bahamian children from east to west areas of the Grand Bahama community were afforded the opportunity to attend the camp thanks to generous sponsorships from the community ... private as well as corporate.
Twenty three sailors came from the West End Eco Fishing Camp Association (WEEFCA), organized by Keith and Linda Cooper, two from the Salvation Army, organized by Roger and Cheryl Compton, six from the High Rock Fishing Tournament Association, organized by Doris Kemp Knowles. Rev. Baillou sponsored another six from High Rock, one from Mary, Star of the Sea organized by Robert Nabb; four sailors picked by director David Valentine, five Columbus House boys and three Columbus House girls enjoyed the two-week camp.
Pelican Bay at Lucaya, a repeat major sponsor, supported the sailing camps with complimentary housing for three visiting instructors over the full eight weeks of the sailing camp. Connar Fullerton of Texas, Julie Baker of Ireland and Alex Southerland of Qatar, were very pleased with accommodation at Pelican Bay and found it a most relaxing experience. Andrew Hindley of Freeport, a junior instructor along with Southerland last year, served as a full instructor this year, too.
"Recognizing the cultural impact of a sport such as this, we are committed to support and promote sailing," commented Della Bridgewater, operations manager, Pelican Bay Hotel. "Sailing is a natural activity in our islands. It's important to grow and develop it starting with our children.
"We strive to keep the sponsored kids sailing throughout the year," said Valentine. "Two weeks just isn't enough you'll see us pop in McLean's, High Rock, and even in West End. We are always looking for support to keep these kids sailing at these 'away' regattas. Pelican Bay's generous contribution has certainly impacted our ability to achieve our objectives."
As a result of our sustained efforts, sailors will participate in the following events, right in their actual communities so that family, friends and the community may see their skills firsthand:
September 1 - 2 Annual Crabbin' Bay Festival and Jr. Regatta
September 8-9 - Royal Nassau Sailing Club Mix-UP Regatta (Hosted by RNSC in Nassau)
September 22-23 - 2012 Bahamas Laser Junior Nationals (Hosted by GBSC)
October 5-6 - 2012 Bahamas Optimist Junior Nationals (Hosted in Harbour Island)
October 13 - West End Junior Sailing Regatta and Festival (Hosted by West End Eco Fishing Camp Association, WEEFCA)
The idea for a children's sailing club was the brainchild of a few sailing enthusiasts late in 2006. It was felt that there was a demand in the community for young people to learn how to sail. This group liaised with the Nassau Yacht Club, an extremely active and growing organization much encouragement was extended.
By March 2007, the Grand Bahama sailing group had purchased 14 new Optimist sailing dinghies the perfect boat recognized worldwide for kids to learn to sail, aged from 7 to 15. When looking for a base from which to operate the Club, the club was fortunate enough to be offered the Sir Charles Hayward Yacht Club by Sir Jack Hayward. A beautiful facility that had been unused for several years, the Yacht Club proved the perfect spot for the Sailing Club. Sir Jack was most supportive of the Club's idea to resurrect it as an active yacht club as it had been many years previously.
With some initial cosmetic work to the clubhouse, the first Summer Sailing Camp was staged.
July 2007 when 42 children were put through three two-week courses of a basic "Learn to sail program."
In September, the Club was invited to participate in the Optimist National Championships, Nassau. Ten boats were shipped to Nassau to join kids from Nassau, Long Island and Abaco as part of a fleet of 56 competitors. The Grand Bahama sailors did remarkably well considering their limited experience.
© 2012 The Freeport News