OPTIMIST BOATS ARRIVE
In December of last year 7News was invited to the Belize Sailing Association's "Christmas Sailing Days" which was staged at the Button Wood Bay seashore. It was an attempt at reviving interest in the sport of sailing, especially amongst the youth of Belize. With the advent of power boats, the old sport of sailing once popular in Belize seemed to have faded into oblivion. But a newly formed sailing association established in February of last year has been hard at work trying to reinvigorate interest in the sport. A training program for those interested got underway late last year, and the interest and enthusiasm was evident amongst the young teenagers we interviewed. When we covered the story last year, the association spoke about their plans to purchase a number of light sailboats called Optimist.
Today, the association announced it had received 26 of those Race certified Optimist dinghies. And the good news is that the fleet of dinghies were all donated. The Government of Belize waivered both the import duty and GST in consideration that the association is launching a Sailing training program for the youths of Belize. The Optimist dinghy is an international class of sailboat designed specifically for 9 to 14 year old boys and girls. The Optimist Project will also produce new sailors for the traditional sailing classes such as Lighters, Sailing dories and sloops in a subsequent program known as "Grand Fleet Sailing," and launch other classes of adult sailing, thereby providing "meaningful activity" for both youth and adults.
Earlier this month, Belize was admitted to the International Sailing Federation as a Full Member of the world governing body for sailing with all benefits including entry into all international sailing events.
Excerpt from Channel 7 News, Belize