On 20th October 2017 a group of 200 people gathered at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay to celebrate Sail Training Scheme’s 40th anniversary. Past and present STS staff and students, sponsors and friends were addressed by the Minister for Sport, Mrs Mitcy Larue, NSC CEO, Ms Giovanna Rousseau and the former Senior Water Sports officer Evangeline Goulding whose sense of pride and nostalgia were evident. Having arrived in Seychelles from the UK in 1977 to teach sailing, she was presented with five Mirror dinghy kits funded by individual members of Seychelles Yacht Club. She had to set about constructing these 11 foot boats with red sails to form the first fleet for teaching beginners how to sail.
Evangeline was responsible for the management of STS and was assisted by a team of enthusiastic Seychellois who looked after the daily running of the scheme including everything from teaching, safety boat work, the construction and maintenance of equipment to the organization of competitions, fund-raising and promotion of water sports.
Since her departure in 1993 Alain Alcindor has been responsible for STS as NSC Director for Water Sports. Several staff have worked with STS for more than 20 years; participation in international competition has increased and STS moved from the Yacht Club Basin to a safer bay off Roche Caiman in 2005.
The scheme has trained over 1,500 sailors and canoeists, some of whom are now Captains, Yachtmasters and skippers. Many Seychellois who first gained confidence and skills on the sea at STS, now have careers based on the sea- including sub-aqua divers, Water sports managers and instructors, and those working in tourism, the fishing industry and marine transport. Others have spent years enjoying maritime leisure activities with their friends and families.
Sail Training Scheme has accomplished many a mile stone over the past four decades. Among them:
- 1978 STS was one of the first centres in the world to use a red inflatable Zodiac as a safety boat (Number 3)
- 1982 STS became part of the newly formed National Sports Council. Later Seychelles Yachting Association and Seychelles Canoe Association were established to organize and promote competition.
- 1983 Canoeing and board sailing classes began with newly qualified instructors and new equipment. Fibreglass canoes for teaching, polo, surfing, racing and expeditions were constructed by staff and volunteers. Dufour Wing boards were purchased.
- 1984 Facilities built at Seychelles Yacht Club including class rooms, workshops and office
- 1985 Seychelles sailing team won medals in Mauritius at IOG
- 1987 Optimist fleet purchased – Primary school children began sailing
- 1988 First Regional Sailing Championships organized by SYA and hosted by the Yacht Club prepared the way for organizing sailing in the 1993 Indian Ocean Island Games
- Participation in the Olympic Games in Laser sailing (1996-2016) with the exception of 2012 and kayaking (2004 and 2008) and Allen Julie claiming the one place allocated to Africa in the Finn Class at Rio Olympics.
- 2007 First All African Games Gold medal for Seychelles won by Meggy Gertrude in Algeriain the Laser 4.7 Class
- Sailing and canoeing athletes have won the Best Sportsman of the Year Award 9 times out of the total of 33 editions.
Picture seen above of aquabat launch in 1993.
Picture seen above of Canoeists.
Picture seen above of Regatta event.