Introducing the Global Vision Sailing Trust

What do the Global Ocean Race, RS Sailing, Virtual Regatta and Peters & May have in common?

Sunday September 12th 2010, Author: Ollie Dewar, Location: United Kingdom

The Global Ocean Race is proud to announce an original, unique and innovative youth sailing programme and charity that will run throughout the GOR 2011-12. In association with RS Sailing, Virtual Regatta, the logistics company Peters & May and a group of sponsors and donors, the Global Vision Sailing Trust (GVST) will introduce sailing and its core values to under-privileged young people at all GOR race venues and stopovers with the ultimate target of creating a permanent facility in each port to teach children life-skills through sailing. The GVST also provides all round the world and transatlantic races with an opportunity to offer a valuable, charitable asset to their host ports.

GOR Race Director, Josh Hall, and a strong team of trustees have been working on the framework of the Global Vision Sailing Trust since the early stages of the inaugural GOR in 2008: “During the Cape Town stopover at the finish of Leg 1, we were invited by the Izivunguvungu Sailing School to join in with some of their events,” explains Hall. The Izivunguvungu (meaning: ‘sudden strong wind’) Sailing Development Centre met with skippers from the race and the GOR Race Organisation for a day of sailing near the foundation’s base in Simon’s Town outside Cape Town: “It was immediately clear that both the kids and the race skippers had a great and very rewarding day,” Hall recalls. “We promised the young sailors from Izivunguvungu that we would return and sail with them during our next round the world race and also do everything we could to introduce sailing to other young people around the world,” he continues. “The launch of the Global Vision Sailing Trust brings this promise to fruition.”

Since the finish of the first GOR in July last year, Hall and the Global Vision team have been gathering support to run the GVST and develop the charity. “We contacted RS Sailing last autumn as the RS Vision dinghy seemed the perfect tool for the job and they embraced the programme with enthusiasm,” says Hall. “A robust and stable boat with the capability of considerable horsepower providing both a good learning platform and exhilarating sailing.” The Global Vision Sailing Trust will be shipping a fleet of RS Vision dinghies to each stopover in the 2011-12 race. “With the help of local sailing groups and authorities, we will use the dinghies on a daily basis during each stopover to introduce under-privileged young people to sailing and its core values of teamwork; competition; adventure; responsibility; education; merit and honesty,” says Hall. “A part of each day will also be devoted to educating the young people about the world with inspirational talks by our team, our race skippers and local role models,” he adds.

With the hardware in place, the GOR Race Director approached the highly-successful online yacht racing company, Virtual Regatta, as a revenue source for the Trust’s initial funding. “The popularity and reach of Virtual Regatta is enormous and this online sailing game is becoming an integral and profitable component in offshore and round the world racing events,” says Hall. “All our income from the Global Ocean Race Virtual Regatta game will go directly to the Global Vision Sailing Trust,” he confirms. “We are also searching for support and involvement from international corporations and local businesses in each stopover who wish to become part of the Global Vision Sailing Trust. Philanthropic donations will also be welcomed.”

The GOR organisers are purchasing and donating the very first RS Vision dinghy in the GVST fleet and a promotional programme for the charity is already planned.

To assist with the complex management of a global charity, Piers Williams has been appointed as Chief Executive of the GVST. Williams was deeply involved with race logistics during the 2008-09 GOR and with extensive business and philanthropic expertise he will bring invaluable knowledge and judgement to the charity. Williams has already organised a board of trustees with an impressive background in sport, business, consultancy, sponsorship and charity work as the backbone of the GVST. “The Global Vision Sailing Trust is about the race organisers, its sponsors, skippers and supporters coming together with a common goal of making life better for under-privileged young people,” says Williams.

Round the world yacht races always leave a deep impression upon any port they visit, but Hall, Williams and the Global Vision team are determined that the GOR’s legacy is permanent and valuable for every host port visited during the nine-month circumnavigation. Piers Williams explains: “As the Global Ocean Race fleet heads across the start line of each leg, we plan to leave a lasting and tangible reminder in each host port that sailing and its core values are about living and life-skills,” he says. “Sailing is not just for the talented crews of the Class40s racing around the world, but for anyone who wants a challenge and to improve his or her life. The skippers in the GOR are self-made people fulfilling their dreams and they will be inspirational to the young people that the GVST will touch.”

Furthermore, the charity is looking far beyond the 2011-12 edition of the GOR: “Between our round the world races, we plan to build on what we have started and add further assets,” continues Williams. “We also plan to offer the services and expertise of the Global Vision Sailing Trust to other race organisers as part of their offering to host ports during their races," he adds. “The charity is a reliable and innovative blueprint for similar youth sailing programmes during all around the world or transatlantic races and we are convinced that the Global Vision Sailing Trust’s commitment is of tremendous value.”

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