America's Cup Community Sailing ProjectThe America’s Cup is teaming up with some of the biggest names in the marine industry to launch an ambitious Community Sailing Project with a focus on leaving a sporting legacy in Bermuda, the venue for the 35th America’s Cup. “This is an exciting project that builds on something we started during the last America’s Cup,” said Russell Coutts, CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

© ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

The Community Sailing Project is built on three main pillars. First, and most importantly, is an educational initiative. A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) program themed around sailing and the America’s Cup will include modules on everything from health and nutrition to the math and physics behind sailing and yacht design. The program will initially be aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds.

The second pillar is a youth sailing program for Bermudian kids ages 8-12, who will also be given tours of ORACLE TEAM USA’s base and witness the technology and facilities the team utilizes. The third pillar is internships for collegiate sailors with ORACLE TEAM USA. In collaboration with the Intercollegiate Sailing Association, the ACEA is setting up a training/internship program where ten of the top college sailors in the U.S. will be brought in for a five-day session each year to train with and learn from ORACLE TEAM USA. Five of the top male and female sailors in the country will come to Bermuda to learn what it takes to become a professional sailor. Three of the top intercollegiate coaches will also be invited to Bermuda to work with the team and share coaching technology and methods.

“The sailing community has thrown its support behind this project in a major way,” Coutts said. “We’re very appreciative that so many share our vision to encourage education and provide opportunities for young people to get engaged with our sport.” Partners include North Sails, Hobie Cat, BIC Sport, RS Sailing, Harken, and Dynamic Dollies and Racks, as well as local partners in Bermuda where 20 Optimist dinghies on the island will be upgraded and re-fitted as training boats.

The Community Sailing Project began last month when the first boats arrived in Bermuda. By the end of the summer, the first phases of the project will be running with bases and teaching facilities established at both ends of the island. The project is expected to serve as a blueprint for similar programs in other cities and countries.