May 10, 2023 – Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club is proud to announce the launch of a ‘Sailability’ program, a sailing program for differently abled youth and adults.

One of the goals of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club is to make sailing available for a broader audience. In the Sailing world Sailability programs are often seen. Even when you have a physical or mental disability, sports are still so important, as daytime activity but also to build self-confidence and focus, each student on their own level and based on individual capabilities.

With a special boat – called an RS Venture Connect – designed for this purpose, the SMYC will make sailing possible for this specific target group.

The R4CR program is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The latter is administered by the World Bank and implemented by the NRPB (National Recovery Program Bureau). The R4CR program is locally managed by the VNGI (International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities) in close cooperation with 4C Foundation and other local partners.
These funds make it possible to purchase this special boat and run the program for 1 year.

“We are working together with the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) on Sint Maarten, specifically their Sister Basilia Center. Four selected students in their day activity program will join the special sailing classes twice a week, as soon as the new boat arrives on island”, said Sam Peeks, Sailing Instructor at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.

“Currently the boat is being shipped to Sint Maarten. We are planning to start the classes in September, but during the months leading up to September we are meeting the students and their parents and informing them about the program. We are planning a meet and greet at the Yacht Club where we can show them the facilities and get them familiar and comfortable on the dock and around the water” Peeks continued.

Not only is it important for the students to learn more about the program and about sailing in general, but the instructors will also be trained by the WYCCF staff about the special needs and approach of the students.
The goal is to increase the student’s confidence until everyone is confident enough to sit in a boat with a sail, steer the boat and feel in control when sailing in the lagoon. The boat is designed not to capsize, so the program is very safe for everyone.

“We are very excited to start this program with the SMYC. It gives our clients a new opportunity to participate in a sport on the island. Besides our clients learning a new skill, it will be a great experience to be on the water and meeting new people” said Mimi Hodge, Department Manager of the Sister Basilia Center.

“We are proud to contribute to our community in this way, to get more local people out on the water and give them the possibility to be involved in the marine industry. Antigua’s National Sailing Academy has a very successful Sailability program running 5 days a week, we are planning a field trip to learn from them, so we can launch our program just as successful”, said Saskia Revelman, SMYC Manager.

Would you like to have more information about this project? Contact Saskia@smyc.com

About the Sint Maarten Yacht Club:

Established in 1980 with the goal to promote sailing on the island of St Maarten. It organizes multiple sailing events throughout the year, with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta as its crown jewel. A youth sailing program stimulates local youngsters to become part of the sailing community, teaching them life skills like team work, perseverance and confidence. Always looking to further develop sailing on St. Maarten, the Club is active in promoting the sport, as well as the beautiful destination it is located at. For more information visit www.smyc.com

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