Future of the Sport, Future of the World
Published on January 11th, 2015
There is a move to show Barbadians that sailing is not just an expensive, elitist sport. It can offer jobs as well as teach life skills to children involved, said Marc Gentilin, who along with Clint Brooks, are using the TP52Conviction as a platform to advance this message.
“Sailing teaches kids a number of things that translate outside of sailing as far as being independent, decision making and problem solving and we can give them those skills and introduce them to the fact that sailing is an industry and you can have jobs,” Gentilin explained.
The two are working with five teenagers, Jaime Ward, Ishan Persaud, Alec Drayton, Anish Persaud and Drew Roberts and those children have each been paired with local companies acting as sponsors. The teenagers have the taken on the role of crew members and, so far, they have spent four weekends on board learning the ropes.
Gentilin noted Conviction was a big boat but still small enough to be physically managed by a reasonably-sized group of people.
“We want to promote them as much as possible. They are not only the future of the sport but the future of the world,” he noted.
Stressing that the island has produced and was still producing very good sailors as well as the fact that it was blessed with perfect sailing conditions, Gentilin said they went to the local sailing school Lrn 2 Sail and “grabbed several of their former and current students”.
They have been teaching the teenagers how to handle the boat and those skills will be debuted on Errol Barrow Day when captain, first mate and crew take part in a round-the-island race.
“We’re going to run this boat ‘Conviction’ around the island and win,” Gentilin said confidently. “That is the plan and I do personally believe that is a realistic plan. We can actually win this event both with the quality of the platform and the quality of the sailors we have on board.”
Gentilin went on to say sailing was enjoying a resurgence on the island’s sporting calendar.
“It is growing. It’s getting more and more visible as time goes on. There was a trend in sailing where it had actually started to die off.”
Meanwhile, Brooks said he hoped the Errol Barrow Day race and the work they were doing with children on board Conviction would set Barbados on the path to regaining its position as one of the top racing islands.
“We live on an island. It’s the best thing we have got – sand, water and wind,” Brooks noted.
Editor’s note: This would seem to be a project that could work anywhere. Any keelboat owners ready to take onboard the next generation this season?