Speaker navigates Spirit through calmer waters
The Speaker of the House of Assembly enjoyed a day of sun and sea in a Bermuda Day celebration on board sail training ship Spirit of Bermuda yesterday.
Dennis Lister is used to steering the course of parliamentary debate, but instead took the helm of the replica sloop as guest of honour — an experience he admitted was a first.
He said: “This was my first time sailing on the Spirit — I’ve been on while she was docked, but never sailed.”
Mr Lister added: “This was a totally different Bermuda Day experience.
“I’m normally very much involved with the Bermuda Day activities like sponsoring the Junior Race, so this was the first Bermuda Day that I’ve had as a holiday for a long time.”
Spirit of Bermuda set sail from Dockyard yesterday morning with a five-strong crew and sailed through the Great Sound in the West End and Hamilton Harbour.
Mr Lister and wife Miranda were also joined by members of the East End Mini Yacht Club and David Goodwin, the chairman of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, which operates Spirit of Bermuda.
Mr Lister did not have a lot of experience sailing, but was surprised how fast he got used to the sails.
He explained: “I’m normally a powerboat person, so I’m used to a lot more speed — this is much more relaxing. She handled the wind extremely well and, as someone who doesn’t sail that much, I found it to be a lot more responsive than I was expecting.”
Mr Lister said that he also enjoyed speaking to the crew and learning about the charity’s youth programmes.
He added: “This is one of those initiatives that must stay alive in Bermuda.
“It has had a positive impact on our children — our students benefit from it greatly and the challenge that they get from being on the water and having to rely on each other is key to their growth.”
Mrs Lister had been on the Spirit of Bermuda before through her job as a teacher at Dellwood Middle School in Pembroke.
She said that it was a nice change of pace to be on board the boat for leisure rather than work.
Mrs Lister said: “It was very relaxing and refreshing to be out in the sunny Bermuda weather.
“It was very nice and it was good company.”
She toured the boat and spoke to the crew about their backgrounds and experiences.
She added: “I like how diverse they are — they all come from different areas, but they all love the water.”
Spirit of Bermuda hoisted the message “Bermuda be safe” in naval signal flags for the trip.
Mr Goodwin said the event was part of a worldwide call-to-action by Sail Training International, set up to promote traditional sea life for young people.
He added: “Every single tall vessel in the world was asked to go out on May 30 in solidarity of what we all do for our community through the group.
“As the Government relaxed a little bit on the restrictions, we knew that, for Bermuda Day, we had set sail one day early.”
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