As the Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Ralph was with  us today to tell us about the first ever Festival of Sail at Barr's Bay Park hosted by The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.   

            The festival has been designed with families in mind and will be two days of fun activities designed for people of all ages.  The Festival of Sail, which we hope will become an annual event, has been designed to be a fun event with two days of activities and will take place during the final two days of the Gold Cup event.
 

One of the key objectives of the Festival is to help Bermuda's young people (and their parents) connect with our maritime past while we celebrate the development of the sport of sailing in Bermuda. We plan to introduce the joys of sailing to both adults and their children. There will be funs castles, face painting, music, games, live pirates (remember those privateers who sailed from Bermuda in the 1700's), The Spirit of Bermuda, which will be opened to the public from 1 pm to 4 PM each day, and photos in the crows nest for the kids. Most activities will be free. However we would encourage those attending to bring lunch or money for food which will be available at the Park and at the RBYC.

            One of the highlights for the adults will be an in-water Boat show where several boats- sail, motor and rowing- on display at the Yacht Club. Also we will have a narrator on the Gold Cup race course who will be giving a live narration of the Gold Cup Match Racing for those who might like to watch the semi-finals and the finals over the two final days. For those who have never watched Match Racing before, we will have bleachers on the RBYC docks for the public and the narrator will be explaining the rules of the match in a way that everyone will be able to understand the action taking place just off the dock.

            The RBYC will be open to the public on both days, in fact for the entire week and we would like for everyone to know that all are welcomed to move about between the Park and the Club over the weekend. A bridge has been installed connecting the RBYC with Barr's BayPark to make the transition easy.

            We have also arranged for two Yachts to be on hand to take the adults out sailing around the harbour for short tours free of charge.  There will also be smaller sailing boats for children between 8 and 12 yeas old to try their hand with an experienced sailor and professional coach on hand. We would encourage those bringing children for sailing to be prepared with swim suits and towels as it is likely they will get wet in the smaller boats. The coach will be there to ensure their safety.

            Bermuda is now producing world class junior sailors from both public and private schools. It is my sincere belief that Bermuda's next Olympic Medal will be in the sport of sailing and I suspect that the winner will be from amongst this fine group of young people now honing their skills in the sport and representing our island successfully in overseas events. I also envision a time when sailing will become a Bermuda national sport.

            Last week I had the privilege of addressing the Assembly of the T.N.TatemMiddle School and asked how many students had sailed in the WaterWise program or on the Spirit of Bermuda. Nearly half the students raised their hands. 10 years ago there may have been one or two.

            Another Key component of the two day activities will be the partnership between the RBYC and two charities which will be manning the two day festivities. We have teamed up with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the youth mentoring program that will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in Bermuda, and the Bermuda Sailing Association which is the Governing Body of the sport of sailing in Bermuda and a key supporter of Youth Sailing. Each of these two organizations will be responsible for the various components of the Festival.

            We sincerely hope that the public will come out to 'get their feet wet and enjoy the two days of Sailing Festival fun - this coming weekend and would once again like to thank Argo Group and Mark Watson, as well as the Ministry of Tourism along with our several corporate sponsors for their support of these international and community events.

            We look forward to a great week of first class sailing and an exciting weekend with the Festival. For more information, please contact the sailing office at the RBYC or the website at www.rbyc.bm. For Festival of Sail information and schedule, please go to the website at www.blotgraphix.com/festival