Kidz at Sea team during the 2018 Regatta race.
PHILIPSBURG–Kidz at Sea Foundation teenagers are getting ready to put their hard training into practice during this week’s Heineken Regatta. A key event on the Caribbean race schedule, the regatta attracts some of the world’s elite sailors and crews, with fast-and-furious racing in mono-hulls, maxis and multihulls.
Kidz at Sea Foundation co-founder said Garth Steyn on Wednesday, “To be part of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta means that our up-and-coming sailors, all age between 15 and 19, are treated warmly and with welcome. That helps them cross over the feeling of being a ‘newbie’ outsider to being ‘belongers,’ as we say in the Caribbean.
“Because the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta attracts professional racers and amateurs in multiple classes, the racing is extraordinary and the visual thrill of sailing amongst the large number of boats is breath-taking – a fantastic experience for young sailors to build on.”
Kidz at Sea Foundation is dedicated to providing young people with access to the opportunities that exist within St. Maarten’s marine industry, including water-sports and other water-based activities. The projects and programmes are geared toward teaching participants life skills to help them succeed both on and off the water, developing skills such as teamwork, communication, accountability and self-reliance.
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Race Director Paul Miller said, “Supporting the Kidz at Sea Foundation encourages young people to get out on the water, which is essential to the future of the sport and the island. We wish them every single success as they put their hard work and training into practice and experience the thrill of racing in our stunning waters.”
The two main Kidz at Sea programmes are “Build Your Future” and “Zero to Hero.”
Build Your Future, which is housed within the island’s largest public high school – Milton Peters College – primarily focuses on teaching high school students to build boats using traditional methods and offers free weekend sailing to any interested student.
The Zero to Hero programme focuses on unemployed youth in St. Maarten and is housed in Simpson Bay Marina. The target age group is primarily 17-35, with the goal of helping to reduce the shortage of scuba diving masters, boat masters and quality boat repair technicians within the local labour pool.
The three-month, full-time training sessions are fully sponsored and offer internationally recognised certification that enables individuals to seek gainful employment in a career that offers higher earnings and greater potential than they might otherwise be eligible for.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/85608-kidz-at-sea-ready-to-compete-in-regatta