2009 RBVIYC International Sailing Clinic  –  Sailing in the British Virgin Islands is not a new concept. For decades people from all over the world have enjoyed the pristine waters of the BVI, the sand of our islands, and the warm, steady trade winds. During the week of March 20th through the 26th, the waters, islands and winds of the BVI were host to the top youth sailors in the world who were training to improve their skills for future endeavours. Sailors from six different countries participated in the First Annual Royal British Virgin Island Yacht Club International Sailing Clinic, a week filled with long-distance sails, covering several miles, and short, quick-paced drills.


Invitations were sent to surrounding Caribbean islands, as well as South American and North American countries, to bring in their top youths to take part in training with the British Virgin Islands Youth Sailing Team. The idea to expose the British Virgin Islands top youth to a high level of competition and training came in part from the Royal BVI Yacht Club and the British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee. With an ample amount of support from both, the BVI will move forward to increase the attendance for future Olympic events, starting with the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore, Summer Olympics in London 2012 and moving on to the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will select a host country in October 2009. 

Sailors and coaches from St. Maarten (Netherlands Antilles), Canada, Australia, United States Virgin Islands, Peru and the British Virgin Islands were all on hand to take part in the seven-day clinic. Brendan Casey (AUS) who in 1995 and 1996 won back-to-back Laser Radial World championships and in 2002 was fifth at the Laser Standard World championships, worked directly with the Laser sailors. Top-ranked North American sailor Mike Todd (CAN) worked directly with the Optimist sailors, and helped select the 2009 British Virgin Islands North American Sailing team, which had five spots to compete for in the upcoming North American championships which will be hosted in the Dominican Republic in July 2009. 


Training took place out of the Royal BVI Yacht Club and Nanny Cay Resort & Marina. With long distance sails in the Sir Francis Drake Channel, which included Cooper Island to Norman Island and back to Nanny Cay, sailors got a chance to push themselves among some of the top-ranked youth sailors. These sailors included Alexander Zimmerman from Peru, Rhone Findlay from St Maarten, and the BVI’s Alec Anderson, all of whom have posted top international results in their respective classes. Sailors also got a chance to tour the surrounding islands and beaches while averaging a solid four to six hours on-water training per day. The intimate size of the clinic enabled the sailors to receive a high level of training, tailored to each individual’s needs and goals


The success of the first annual International Sailing Clinic that the Royal BVI Yacht Club and the BVI Olympic Committee have hosted will prove to be invaluable to the extent of the knowledge that both the international and BVI participants have gained.  In 2010, the clinic will open its doors to as many as ten countries and increase the camp’s capacity to 24 participants. The Kids And The Sea (KATS) program, Nanny Cay Resort & Marina, Royal BVI Yacht Club, the Anderson family and the BVI Olympic Committee all made generous contributions.