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With sailing events as large as the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta the question is often asked, who benefits from the event? The obvious answers like hotels, car rentals and restaurants can easily be given, but many do not realize that the St.Maarten youth are also on the long list of benefactors of the event.  For several years now, many regatta competitors have chosen to make a donation to the youth sailing program while paying their entry fees.  These donations have been used to provide sailing lessons to the local youth and new sailors have taken part in the program allowing them to be able to enjoy learning about the sport of sailing at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.

 

  

 

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club Youth Sailing Program has been actively teaching children to sail for over 20 years, starting out with limited boats and equipment, they have now expanded to offer lessons to more than 60 children a week and have branched out to include adult lessons within the program. 

 

Children in the program have the opportunity to sail Optimists, a single handed sailing dinghy, as well as Lasers, which may be sailed by either one or two people.  Several years ago the Yacht Club increased their fleet of boats to also include RS Visions.  These new boats are very stable and allow plenty of room for two sailors and an instructor, and offer spinnaker practice as well.  With the variety of boats available the instructors are able to cater to the range of skills that the children possess.

 

Sailing instructor, Maaike Van Mameren, mentioned that "The children really enjoy sailing! We are trying to change people's misconception that this is an elite sport, and when speaking with the parents I try to explain what the yacht club and the youth sailing program is about, hopefully changing their opinions about the sport" 

   

In addition to the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta sponsoring children for the sailing program, the Yacht Club works closely with the St.Maarten Marine Trade Association (SMMTA) who also work hard to place kids into the sailing program, with the aim of bridging the gap between the Marine Industry and the islands local community.  The SMMTA has also committed to sponsoring several children throughout the year allowing more children to experience sailing, keeping them on the water and out of trouble.

 

If you or your team would like to donate to the youth sailing program you can do so while entering for the 2014 St.Maarten Heineken Regatta. When paying your entry fee online you can choose to make a donation and opt for the amount you would like to give. This will be added to your total entry fee and can be paid together.  If you are interested in sailing lessons or know a child that would enjoy learning to sail please contact the sailing instructors at youthsailingsmyc@gmail.com for more information.

 

For over three decades, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has showcased the top boats and sailing has become equally famous for its world-class slate of parties and musical entertainment in the Caribbean. Now recognized by sailors around the planet as one of the sailing world's best regattas, each year the event lives up to its worthy motto: Serious Fun.

 

For full information on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including results, photos, videos, party and band information, and much, much more, visit  www.heinekenregatta.com

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