Students at TN Tatem Middle School got a behind-the-scenes view of the technology that drives America’s Cup racing while learning about the sustainable practices being used by the sailors.
They were taking part in the #Connect2sailing programme, a collaboration between Digicel BTC and Land Rover BAR announced last week, which aims to bring Bermuda’s young people closer to the 35th America’s Cup.
Some 700 final year middle school students will visit the 11th Hour Racing Exploration Zone at the Land Rover team base to learn about the technology behind the racing and the sustainability practices in the sport and that are central to Land Rover BAR’s ethos. The exploration zone invites students behind the scenes and gives them hands-on experience with some of the interactive exhibits.
Karlandra Smith, marketing executive for Digicel BTC, told The Royal Gazette: “The students really enjoyed the experience today.
“As soon as we got through the doors they were intrigued by the different hands-on games and experiences they had for them. Most of them really enjoyed the virtual reality — they were moving their hands around and getting involved.
“When the lady from Land Rover BAR announced that we could go outside and check the boat they were excited about that. We could see the sailors getting on to the boat and one even got up high into the sail.
“I don’t think the students would get the opportunity to see it this close up on any other day. It was a very memorable experience. They can talk about this for years to come, how they got to visit the base and see those boats in person. It also taught the students about sustainability and the amount of trash that is created in the world.”
Se’-Lah Ray, 14 said: “I liked the hands-on stuff because I could learn from experience and have a better understanding. They had a quiz so you could answer questions about the things you were learning. They had virtual reality and you could change the settings to see what it would be like to go on the America’s Cup boats. It was very realistic — it was like being there and you could see the different parts of the boat.”
Tinasia Paynter, 14, enjoyed learning about how Land Rover BAR is promoting sustainable practices. She explained: “We learnt how they recycle plastic — we got to play on the machine grinding up plastic and turning them into plant pots using solar panels.
“We got to play different games and experiment and they showed us how they work on the America’s Cup sailboats. We learnt how the boats depend on the wind and how they pick the crew based on their weight because that matters when they are sailing. We also got to see how they put the sail up and saw the guy climb up to the top. I wasn’t really interested in sailing before but now I’m interested in trying it out.” Asked whether she wanted to see the sailing in May and June, Tinasia replied: “Yes, I will be there.”
Faizon Augustus, 14 added: “We saw the racing boats preparing to go and practise and learnt how the higher sail makes the boats go faster.”
#Connect2sailing programme, visit Digicel Bermuda online and follow the students’ experience by liking Digicel Bermuda on Facebook. Beyond school visits, the programme will include other opportunities for residents to experience the America’s Cup.