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Yacht Club News August 2011

More Exciting Than the America's Cup
Recently, St. Maarten 12-metre Challenge invited the children in the St. Maarten Yacht Club (SMYC) Youth Sailing Programme to sail on the magnificent America's Cup 12-metre sailboats in Great Bay, Philipsburg.

The event was organized by the SMYC Youth Sailing Committee, and Steve Hammond of St. Maarten 12-metre Challenge.

The day began with a brief history of the America's Cup and a look into the background of St. Maarten's sleek 12-metre yachts.

After the briefing it was time to sail. Eighteen children and six adults were divided into two teams and ferried out to the boats: Denis Connor's original Stars and Stripes and Canada's True North. The captains assigned their new deck-hands specific places in the cockpit and the crew taught them how to perform the tasks that would, hopefully, turn them into the winning team. After a short practice, the 'Great Race' began.

Everyone worked hard; grinding the winches, trimming sails, and adjusting the backstays. There was no time to be idle but there was plenty of opportunity for laughter, team spirit and bonhomie, not to mention more than a few good-natured insults lobbed at the competition.

A pair of dolphins surfaced to see what the ruckus was about and then submerged to the quiet of the depths.

The race was won by a boat length. Speeding towards each other on opposite tacks and with both crews straining to see which colour flag would be raised, Stars & Stripes skimmed across True North's bow. It was exhilarating to the end!

For more information about the youth sailing programme at the St. Maarten Yacht Club, visit: or email: For the St. Maarten 12-metre Challenge, go to:

Article submitted by Kathy Gifford, SMYC Press Co-ordinator.

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