For the past two weeks, the team at local day charter company Jus’ Sail has been conducting their second annual Youth Sail Training Program on land and sea around the Rodney Bay area. The program, which is the only one of its kind currently on the island, provides a wide range of training and coaching in the hard and soft skills which are needed for the yachting and sailing industry. This summer, four young men from the ages of 18 to 25 have signed up and are already very enthusiastic about the experience.
Sanji Charles (18), Vestus Severin (19), Mikhail St Clair (22) and O’Brian Forde (25) were recruited via the National Skills Development Corporation, where they are currently taking courses in General and Auto Maintenance; they were selected after learning about the course at a presentation given by Jus’ Sail’s co-owner and Sustainable Tourism Consultant, James Crockett. Interested candidates had to submit a brief essay on the reasons why they would like to join the program, and the successful applicants were chosen based on their attitude, commitment and interest in making a future for themselves in the marine industries.
Meeting the guys under a shady tree at IGY Rodney Bay Marina, I asked them what had attracted them to get into the yachting sector, and was immediately struck by their enthusiasm and newly-found passion for sailing. ‘Adventure, freedom, meeting new people’ were some of the answers as to why, but they also recognised the potential impact on their future of finding a successful career in a growing sector which needs to recruit experienced and qualified staff with a broad variety of skills. Their spokesman O’Brian shared some of the highlights of the program so far, which include classroom and dockside training in sailing theory, maintenance and basic mechanics, health and safety, customer service, personal grooming and communication; on the sea, the team were taught the basics required to rig, manoeuvre and sail a boat, in this case Jus’ Sail’s beautifully restored Carriacou sloop, Good Expectation.
As a group, their positive energy was infectious – individually they were passionate about different new skills. Vestus had really enjoyed swimming and diving off the deck of ‘Good Expectation’ , while O’Brien was into the snorkelling. Mikhail enjoyed taking the helm and steering the boat using his new training to read the wind and waves, while Sanji was happiest fishing off the deck and was hoping to catch something before too long. They all agreed that their ‘mentor’, First Mate Mr. Herbert, was a great inspiration while owners Pepsi and James Crockett were praised for giving back to the community with this valuable training.
Speaking to Pepsi and James, it’s obvious where the inspiration comes from, as the husband and wife team are very passionate about the program and this year’s talented crop of trainees. Their vision for Jus’ Sail always included a plan to train young people during the quiet summer months, providing a career path to the yachting sector or marine industries, and building a skills base among the local workforce which to date has not been developed.
‘The Jus’ Sail program is designed to give the participants a solid foundation in sailing and yachting, covering technical and practical skills as well as the customer service needed to succeed in the tourism sector, ‘ says James. ‘This year the guys will train for 3-4 weeks, then they have the opportunity to crew ‘Good Expectation’ down to the Carriacou Regatta where they will represent Saint Lucia by racing against other traditional boats from the Caribbean. Throughout the course the participants are assessed and graded on their performance, and if they hit the mark, there will be opportunities for work experience at IGY during the ARC. Ultimately, we hope that permanent work in the industry will be available for all the guys.’
The Jus’ Sail St Lucia team will set sail for Carriacou around July 31st, and the STAR will be tracking their progress as they head off on the first of hopefully many sailing adventures. Good Luck and Bon Voyage!
Photos by Pepsi@jussail.com