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Yacht Club News March 2011

St. Maarten Youth Sailors Visit Stad Amsterdam
What better choice for a field trip for the youth sailors of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club (SMYC) than a visit to the beautiful sailing ship Stad Amsterdam.

In January, 20 young sailors went aboard the handsome square-rigger and were treated to a guided tour by Captain Richard Slootweg. Needless to say, all the children were extremely impressed with the ship.

The Stad Amsterdam was modeled after a 19th century frigate, but is not an exact copy. The modern hull is made of steel and took over a year to build. The ship is a combination of the best qualities of clippers of the past, outfitted and built with modern techniques. She is very fast, with 15 knots being a normal speed.

"I already see some good deck hands," said Captain Slootweg, on receiving a SMYC burgee as a token of thanks for the wonderful opportunity to visit.

The Stad Amsterdam has made important contributions to the lives of young people by offering them valuable training and work experience. In September 2009 the ship accommodated a televised research expedition, re-tracing Charles Darwin's voyage on HMS Beagle. The ship sailed the route of the Beagle in approximately eight months while collecting information to allow comparison between Charles Darwin's observations and the current ones.

Members of the St. Maarten Youth Sailing Program visit different vessels through out the year. Recently they spent time with 15-year old Dutch solo circumnavigator Laura Dekker aboard her ketch Guppy. Visits such as this introduce the youngsters to the wider world of sailing and are actively encouraged by the St. Maarten Yacht Club.

For more information about the SMYC Youth Sailing Program contact Maaike van Mameren. Email:

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