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SIMPSON BAY-- A group of eight students from Milton Peters College (MPC) have volunteered to race in this year's St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and are currently receiving training each week from the St.Maarten Sailing School. The news marks a giant step forward in interest shown for sailing by young St. Maarteners and the first-time MPC students will be crewing two boats on the Caribbean's biggest international stage. The initiative is sponsored by the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and IGY Marinas.

The students will be divided equally onto the sailing school's two yachts "Moondance" and "Vanille" for the regatta and supervised by instructor/skippers Rien Korteknie and Garth Steyn. It was understood one or two SBO Maritime Schools tudents will also be joining the crews for the regatta. The MPC students are Miguel Carrilho, Shaquille Walker, Brandon Webster, Armani Aventurin, Alain van de Llsle, Delano Samuel, Jahir Mansimbor, and Malik Marlin. Also confirmed was Raphael Macintosh from the SBO program.
"We took them out for the first time last week following class work in the morning and it was pretty windy, but they did alright," said Garth, St. Maarten Sailing School's Director. "They figured out the tacking and jibing, and working the winches. They all had a good time. They've also been turning up early which is good to see. They're excited."
Aside from class work, safety, and learning to tie knots the students have participated in keelboat races in the lagoon with instructor Iain Mobbs. Garth estimated after about 10 outings they should have a pretty'good idea of what they have to do in the Heineken. Asked if he thought this was a portent of broader interest to emerge from the local community, he said; "Ithink with their picture in the papers and spreading the word we could be high in demand. We might need extra boats. It's definitely a good start. The initiative came from the students who approached us. What I told them at one of my orientations at MPC was if you are serious, get a group together and we will train you." Commented Shaquille Walker (17), one of the students: "We tried out sailing before and chose it at MPC as a sport that we were interested in. And when Garth came to the school it got us more interested.
It's a lot of fun and we are learning a lot." Added Malik Marlin, also 17: "To know how to sail and get qualified, think it's a good thing to have on your resume."
MPC General Director Wim de Visser praised the initiative, describing it as good for development of the island's marine sector, and importantly as potential for future employment in the sector.Heineken Regatta Director, Michele Korteweg, added: "We are motivating these students to continue and through them, hopefully more kids will get involved in sailing. That's why we felt it important to sponsor the project."
Written by Robert Luckock
Posted in: General
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