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27 December 2004, 01:15 pm
Bahamas Optimists - A Special Christmas Gift
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International Optimist

Many lucky children round the world will be receiving an Optimist for Christmas. But in the Bahamas they will be getting NINETEEN!

In a deal finalised on Christmas Eve the Bahamas Sailing Association has ordered nineteen Optimists to help establish a National Sailing School.

For some months the B.S.A. has been seeking low-cost second-hand Optimists to open the sport of sailing to juniors that previously could not participate in a sailing program due to economic reasons. U.S. builders McLaughlin searched hard and came up with an offer of charter boats to be used at the Orange Bowl Regatta in Miami next week. But the price was still rather higher than the funds available. An appeal to IODA for help under its '6 for 5' scheme secured a further 17% reduction and the order was placed.

John Lawrence, secretary of the B.S.A. wrote:

'The Bahamas Sailing Association (National Authority) is establishing the first National Sailing School of The Bahamas. This non-profit venture aims to teach sailing to juniors in the Bahamas and will for the first time open the sport of sailing to juniors that previously could not participate in a sailing program due to economic reasons.

This is a very worthy program and we hope that it will have substantial growth over the next few years. Having said that we are now at the first step and we can only afford a few boats and therefore request the '6 for 5' assistance. We feel that once we get the program started we will be able to grow from there as we will have something tanigble with our sailing program.

We want to ultimately introduce the optis on a large scale basis to the local school system.'

Just two years ago the Royal Nassau S.C. wrote to IODA: 'We have missed a complete generation of developing sailors at our sailing club. We now have a group of members who are willing to get this thing going again.'. Fleets have since been introduced at the R.N.S.C. and the Nassau Yacht Club, and the initiative of the B.S.A. will open up the sport still further.

Robert Wilkes (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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