The Volvo Open 70 True North sailed into Bequia in January, as part if its promotional tour to promote Dubai and the United Arab Emirates as a candidate to host the World Expo in 2020.
True North took part in the 2008-09 Volvo Round the World race as Green Dragon before being rebranded for its current role. Skipper Alistair Moore and the crew brought the yacht across the Atlantic from Ireland after its refit, visiting Barbados as its first port of call, before sailing to St Vincent & the Grenadines.
True North was in Bequia for three days where she offered a sailing experience aboard the Open 70 to the Bequia Youth Sailors and others interested in sailing or knowing more about Expo2020.
Bequia Youth Sailors is a charity providing sailing training to local schoolchildren, with a goal to send a young athlete to the 2016 Rio Olympics in the Laser sailing. Currently they train using Optimist dinghies before moving onto the locally made ‘Double Enders’. Future training will include Lasers in preparation for the 2016 Games.
The Volvo Open 70 has been updated to suit its current role with the addition of a fridge/freezer, but other than that, the yacht is stripped bare below to provide fast, exciting and exhilarating sailing.
The Bequia Youth Sailors, all wearing their own lifejackets, were taken out into the channel between Bequia and St. Vincent, where the yacht accelerated to 10-11kts with little effort. As the trades freshened and began to gust up 24kts, the yacht reached speeds of 15-16kts with two reefs in the sail. The sailing was both fun and wet, with waves frequently sending spray over the boat, soaking the crew and guests, much to their delight.
Many of the young sailors took turns at the helm and at the grinders to raise the sails. The trip provided a very different style of sailing than what the youngsters are used to sailing the Optimists or the ‘Double-Enders’.
The crew of True North provided a great day, with exciting sailing aboard a very fast yacht. Promoting Dubai as a candidate for Expo2020 was achieved by providing a warm, welcoming experience onboard and building some long- lasting friendships from across the globe. They definitely earned our vote.
From Bequia, True North visited St Lucia, Dominica and Antigua.
For information about Bequia Youth Sailors, visit: www.bequiayouthsailors.org
For information about Dubai Expo 2020, visit: www.http://expo2020dubai.ae/en
True North can be contacted via Anna Lynch: Anna.Lynch@EXPO2020Dubai.ae
Report submitted by Graham Wiffen