This weekend will see the launch of the Malta Sail Training Association (MSTA). The brainchild of Grand Harbour Marina’s General Manager, Ben Stuart, the MSTA aims to provide less privileged children with life skills and increased confidence as well as much more.
Sailing requires so many necessary life skills including teamwork, communication, and responsibility and by aiding their education in these skills the MSTA hopes to provide opportunities to many young Maltese assisting them to become responsible, active members of the society.
Fifteen boys and girls, mainly from the Cottonera area, will be the first group of participants to experience this new and exciting initiative meant “to provide life skills, personal development, teamwork, empowerment and the promotion of individual responsibility through the medium of sail training” says Ben Stuart who has been working on the project for the past four years. The lucky fifteen will be grateful they have been given this opportunity since the trip was oversubscribed with thirty two respondents.
Stuart’s novel approach found a strong base of cooperation and enthusiasm from a group of collaborators since the inaugural meeting in August 2010. A committee has now been formed with Chris Grech, Chairman, Robert Aquilina and Ann Fenech, members, and Stuart General Secretary.
“The idea replicates other organisations abroad but is tailored towards Malta. Local interest was most encouraging. This came from various quarters, however, most overwhelming was the response of the Local Councils of the harbour area who even sent a flyer to all houses in the area to explain the concept” Stuart said.
The first trip, this weekend, will take place aboard the Tall Ship Brigantine Florette, built in 1921 courtesy of its owners, which is bound to give the young participants a taste of the historic way of sailing.
“Ours is a gesture of support to a noble initiative,” remarked Captain Ronald Haynes of Historical Tallship Sailing Ltd, owners of Brigantine Florette.
The youngsters, whose average age is 17, will be living their first-ever sailing experience and learn about pulling the right ropes, hoisting the correct sails, understanding weather predictions and manoeuvring a boat as part of a crew.
In addition to the above, the association is keen to develop and promote Malta as a centre for skills and craftsmanship to service the yachting industry and the trip will start and end at Camper & Nicholsons’ Grand Harbour Marina.