Student sails away with new scholarship

  • New award: scholarship winner Indio Francis with, from left, her mother Latoya Francis, BISA director James Watlington, and father Karim Francis (Photograph supplied)

A new scholarship from the Bermuda International Shipping Association has been awarded to Bermuda Institute student Indio Francis.

The 14-year-old is taking part in a weeklong sail-training voyage around the island aboard Spirit of Bermuda.

She was awarded the first Charlotte Watlington Student Voyage Scholarship, a partnership between Bisa and the Bermuda Sloop Foundation offering offshore sailing experiences to local high-schoolers aboard the 112-foot sail-training vessel.

The annual $1,500 scholarship, named for avid Bermudian sailor Charlotte who died in 2013, is given to deserving teenagers aged 14 and older to attend the foundation’s Girls Coastal Skiller Voyages.

Angelique Burgess, Bisa deputy chairwoman, said: “Bisa is honoured to offer this scholarship to Indio Francis, and we wish her a successful sailing experience.”

James Watlington, Charlotte’s father and a Bisa director, said: “My wife and I are honoured that Bisa has chosen to remember my daughter Charlotte, who was a keen sailor and represented Bermuda in the Youth Worlds Sailing Championships.

“It’s our hope that Indio will take full advantage and learn as much as she can on Spirit of Bermuda.”

Ms Francis’s first experience on Spirit was in March, when she participated in a weeklong voyage through her school.

She said the course helped her build self-confidence and make new friends, adding: “I’m interested in sailing and willing to learn how to sail a large vessel.

“I am also interested in navigation and astronomy and this summer course seems like the perfect venue to hone my skills these two areas.”

Bisa was established in 1995 and relaunched in 2013. It brings together maritime-related shipping interests on the island to promote Bermuda as a global shipping jurisdiction and provide support for local students planning to enter the field.

The group supports students in the maritime field through mentor programmes such as the Bermuda Sloop Foundation and the Bermuda Sea Cadets Corps, and awards scholarships to those pursuing shipping-related courses and careers.

Summer courses are being offered to young people, including a co-ed overseas voyage with tall ships for students 16-plus (July 20 to August 20), and a Boys Coastal Skiller Voyage (August 28 to September 1) for students 14-plus. For more information, contact