In collaboration with S/Y Seahawk and Sea Masters Galapagos, YachtAid Global (YAG) has launched its Youth Sailing and Swimming Program to foster a connection between local youth and the surrounding ocean and environment, along with providing positive peer relationships.
“As Seahawk continues to explore remote areas and communities around the world in the coming years, we are on a mission to leave a legacy of doing good along the way, focused on the areas of science, ecology, and community values,” says Capt. Stephen Edwards. He felt the sailing school seemed to be a natural fit for them, as their presence symbolizes what learning to sail could lead to in the future. Beyond the financial support they were able to give, he hopes the publicity and community involvement helps create the momentum in the community and local politics to keep the project moving forward.
Seahawk delivered the first round of Optimist sailboats to be used in the program and the crew spent time working with the children to ignite their interest and excitement in sailing. They also invited local children on board to demonstrate how large sailing yachts work.
They were amazed at the response they received. “We had queues for the visits on board and tryout sessions with the sailing dinghies. It was encouraging too how the promotional events organized brought local people out of the woodwork, offering to volunteer with the project as well,” he says. “As a visiting yacht captain, it made me feel much closer to the community than I would perhaps under a more typical visit. This was all very rewarding to me and my crew.”
“The Galapagos Youth Sailing Program’s successful launch was made possible through the extraordinary commitment and assistance of the owner’s and crew of the 60-meter Perini-built S/Y Seahawk,” says Capt. Mark Drewelow, founder of YachtAid Global, in a press release. “The participation by the vessel and crew of S/Y Seahawk is a prime example of how YachtAid Global’s partnering yachts contribute to the world around them through participation in our programs.”
The education and hands-on exposure will strengthen the children’s connection with the coastal environment, which these next generations will be entrusted to protect. The staff of Associated Yacht Services Panama also contributed their time, knowledge, and energy to the launch.
Set up as an independent entity with its own Ecuadorian legal structure, the school is designed to run with YAG’s support diminishing over time. This program is part of YAG’s ongoing Operation Beagle initiative to provide the Galapagos with access to clean water and educational and conservation programs. They also have plans to continue and expand programs that increase the collective consciousness and commitment among Galapagos residents for preservation and protection of the islands’ land and sea environment.
“We will follow with interest [on] the project. The next phase is the development of the sites allotted by the islands’ town halls for the scheme, the training of the instructors at each center, and then the expansion of the fleet,” Capt. Edwards says. “I very much hope other yachts/owners will get involved to continue support for this as well.”
For more information or how to get involved, visit: www.YachtAidGlobal.org