Five Juvenile Offenders to Sail Across Atlantic Ocean
Published on October 29th, 2015
Five juvenile offenders have been selected by SailFuture to participate in its Sail For Justice program that will compete in the 2015 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), a transatlantic voyage that departs on Nov. 22 and spans 2,700 nautical miles from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia.
The Sail For Justice program serves as an alternative solution to the current incarcerations for at-risk youth from urban centers like Los Angeles, Tampa Bay and others.
According to Michael Long, founder of SailFuture, the program’s goal is to use the sport of sailing as an innovative resource to demonstrate that there are more effective and cost-efficient ways to rehabilitate at-risk youth than sending them into a broken juvenile justice system that fails more kids than it saves.
“Sailing is the basis of everything we do. Through it, we teach responsibility, inspire confidence and build the foundation of lifelong friendships,” Long said, who also serves as an advisor to Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice. “This is more than a sailboat rally. Crossing the Atlantic with five of the country’s highest-risk juvenile offenders will inspire judges, state attorneys and others to believe in the human potential to change. It will make them think twice before sending another kid to prison.”
With criminal charges ranging from murder to grand theft auto, these young men had never stepped foot on a sailboat before joining the program in September, but are currently participating in an Olympic-style training program. They will become watch leaders, navigators, pitman, foredeck crew and mechanics. Two captains will be on board to supervise the transatlantic crossing, but ultimately all ship operations and tactical sailing decisions will remain with the five crewmembers.
Details about the team and the program schedule can be found at www.sailfuture.org, along with opportunities for sailing enthusiasts and juvenile justice advocates to learn more and get involved.
SailFuture (www.sailfuture.org) is a 501c(3) based in Sarasota, Fla. The organization specializes in preventing youth incarceration and rehabilitating those affected by a broken juvenile justice system. Since 2012, SailFuture has worked with judges, state attorneys, public defenders and advocacy groups to design sailing-based programs that have transformed more than 150 lives.
Report by Sam Davidson