Mustafa Ingham believes there is no glass ceiling to his ambitions after setting his sights on becoming a Volvo Ocean Race sailor.
Ingham, who competed for Team BDA at the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup last summer, is serving an apprenticeship with Turn the Tide on Plastic, one of seven teams in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.
The opportunity has enabled the 21-year-old, who is being supported by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and XL Catlin, to develop his craft alongside the most elite offshore sailors in the world.
“I’ve joined Turn the Tide on Plastic team as part of the Volvo Ocean Race Academy,” Ingham told a press conference at the BTA on Church Street yesterday.
“In doing this apprenticeship I get to work with the shore team and go out sailing with the sailing team during stopover activities.”
Ingham is one of two Bermudians associated with the prestigious race, as Emily Nagel, formerly with Team BDA and SoftBank Japan, is a member of Team AkzoNobel.
A keen sportsman, Ingham was given a nudge by his grandmother to try out for Team BDA almost 2˝ years ago. The wing grinder helped the local favourites to reach the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Finals, finishing eighth overall.
By his own admission he barely knew a tack from a gybe before starting his sailing odyssey, but has fallen in love with the sport and is determined to maximise his opportunities.
“I’ve just finished doing the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda with Team BDA and I decided I might as well keep the ball rolling and get into this,” Ingham added.
“The apprenticeship programme is aimed to help people like myself to hopefully one day become a Volvo Ocean Race sailor and to get into offshore sailing.”
Kevin Dallas, the BTA chief executive officer, said Ingham’s apprenticeship was building on the legacy of the 35th America’s Cup, which was won by Emirates Team New Zealand on the Great Sound in June.
“This is an awesome opportunity for one of our own,” Dallas said.
“All of Bermuda is immensely proud of Mustafa’s accomplishments with Team BDA in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, and as his sailing career takes shape, the Bermuda Tourism Authority looks forward to working with him as an ambassador for the sport.”
Paul Jardine, the XL Catlin executive vice-president and chief experience officer said: “As the insurance partner of the 35th America’s Cup and an organisation that is committed to youth development as well as advancing ocean education, it gives us great pleasure to support Mustafa Ingham in his quest to become a professional youth ocean racing sailor.
“We are confident that he will make the most of this opportunity and we will be keeping track of his progress every step of the way.”
Turn the Tide on Plastic is a mixed, youth focused team led by Britain’s Dee Caffari. The 44-year-old has built a multinational, 50-50 male-female squad, with the majority under 30 years of age.
The Volvo Ocean Race started in Alicante, Spain, on October 22 and will conclude in The Hague, the Netherlands, in June next year after 11 legs and 45,00 nautical miles of sailing.