AS THE America’s Cup buzz builds to the start of the competition, two charities have paired up to encourage the next generation of sailors.
The official charity of the big event, The 1851 Trust, has teamed up with the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation to deliver sailing taster sessions to Portsmouth schoolchildren.
These classes will run for five weeks from Monday, July 27, at The Camber, in Old Portsmouth, right at the heart of the action when the world series gets underway.
With funding secured from Travis Perkins plc, the Portsmouth sailing project will have a range of specially adapted boats, so both disabled and able-bodied children can enjoy the full experience of the sessions.
The project hopes to see over 1,000 schoolchildren aged between 9 and 14 come and experience this unique opportunity to take to the water.
CEO of the 1851 Trust, Alasdair Akass, wants the youngsters to get a taste of the sea, then get them hooked on a sport that is growing in the local community.
It is hoped that by offering these free taster sessions, the project will whet the appetite of those who attend, who can then be helped to develop their skills by recommending to them affordable local sailing schools.
Patron of the 1851 Trust and the man responsible for bringing the America’s Cup to the city, Sir Ben Ainslie, has backed the ambitions of the two charities to get young people on the water.
Sir Ben said: ‘Having two great charities working together to get the young people of Portsmouth out on the water and experience sailing is just fantastic.
‘It’s great that two charities with similar objectives of helping young people get onto the water, to experience this amazing sport, are able to do so during and after one of the most memorable sailing events Portsmouth has ever seen.’
The Portsmouth sailing project wants to help break down barriers and give children from all backgrounds the opportunity to try something new, and potentially develop a love for a new sport.