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Learning the Ropes

Last month, All At Sea caught up with three local St Maarten teenagers (pictured) who have spent the summer getting a taste of America’s Cup action. [From left to right] Gervais (17), Erick (19) and Sean (14), have been working in the yard and crewing for Great Bay’s 12-Meter Challenge, the popular attraction where tourists can race on boats from the 1987 America’s Cup - Dennis Connor’s Stars and Stripes, True North IV and Canada II.

The three have been enjoying an informal apprenticeship, starting at the bottom with maintenance and repair before progressing to stints on the Committee Boat or crew on board the race boats.

The boys admitted that the attraction of lugging sails around was often lost on their peers. But according to Steve Hammond from the 12-Metre Challenge, “to recruit and train local talent should be at the basis of building a good future for marine businesses across the Caribbean. For a region that attracts such a vast number of visitors from around the world, this sort of recruitment policy will eventually give local people the chance to see the rest of the world, and be paid to do it.”

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