Last Thursday Youth Sailing Foundation commissioned four 420 racing sailboats and a Boston Whaler in a late afternoon waterfront ceremony attended by the boat sponsors, YSF directors and staff, and the teen sailors who will crew the boats. These vessels are among the 80-boat fleet utilized by YSF to teach sailing free of charge to Indian River County children.
The 14-foot Club 420 is a two-man sailing dinghy recognized as a world class racer and campaigned in national and international championships. Local donors named and sponsored these four boats as follows: LIVE LIKE COLE – Dr. and Mrs. Nick Coppola; AUDREY –Jay and Betsy Woodruff, Robert and Susan McLean; MISS LYNN – Joe and Lynn Platania; KACHINA – Tony Tremaine.
Each sponsor explained the significance of the name they chose. Dr. Coppola spoke movingly of the Live Like Cole Foundation he and his wife Elaine formed in memory of their son Cole, tragically killed in an auto/bike accident on the 17th Street Bridge. Betsy Woodruff paid tribute to her mother Audrey, describing her as an inspirational matriarch. Joe Platania honored his wife Lynn, recognizing her giving nature and lifetime of service to others. Tony Tremaine recalled how his Dad campaigned a series of boats in major ocean races with the final one being KACHINA.
The vintage Boston Whaler, which serves as a safety and instructor boat, was sponsored by father and son David and Michael Mitchell and named NICOLE ANN in honor of Mike’s eldest daughter.
The respective crews, members of the Vero Beach Varsity Sailing Team, were introduced and in Navy tradition commanded to “man your boats”. Stu Keiller, YSF Executive Director, concluded by thanking the sponsors for helping to enable 150 children to receive free sailing instruction each week at YSF. He emphasized the organization’s underlying tenet “Sail for Life”, as sailing teaches independence, builds confidence and self-esteem, and empowers young sailors to reach their full potential.
A celebratory reception was hosted by Youth Sailing Foundation at the Vero Beach Yacht Club, where the seasoned sailors and teenaged crews enjoyed swapping tall tales about their sailing adventures.