Lewis hosts 'Mentorship through Sailing' at Vessigny

Olympic sailor Andrew Lewis guides a young sailor at the Andrew Lewis Sailing Foundation 'Mentoring through Sailing' programme at Vessigny Beach over the weekend.  - Melvern Isaac
Olympic sailor Andrew Lewis guides a young sailor at the Andrew Lewis Sailing Foundation 'Mentoring through Sailing' programme at Vessigny Beach over the weekend. - Melvern Isaac

THE Andrew Lewis Sailing Foundation hosted a two-day ‘Mentorship through Sailing’ programme at Vessigny Beach over the weekend.

The Olympic sailor held in-depth, rotated sessions with over 50 children, some of whom have been a part of his foundation since its inception 13 years ago.

Owing to the pandemic, this was the first time, since December 2019, Lewis was able to host this initiative with his bunch of seasoned and new campaigners.

The laser class sailor, however, used this opportunity to not only give his students some long-awaited time on the water, but to instil life lessons and draw correlations with the sport and daily life.

The 31-year old believes the pandemic has taken a toll on children globally and that it was necessary to host the mentorship programme to rejuvenate their vigour for the sport.

According to him, while their inspiration is to become the best sailor and potential Olympian, they must use the sport of sailing as a tool in life to grow.

“The same way they (children) look at the optimist (dinghy) or any small boat they’re sailing, if they work hard in the boat then it will go fast.

“Similarly, if they work hard in life, whether in school or their jobs to come, there is a high chance they will have the best opportunity of having a successful life in general,” he said.

Lewis constantly draws reference to the sport of sailing because it has been one of his greatest teachers.

Young sailors of the Andrew Lewis Sailing Foundation get some time on the water at Vessigny Beach on Sunday. - Melvern Isaac

He considers the opportunity to give back to TT’s youth as a “phenomenal gift” and a chance to allow his students to experience how beneficial the sport can be used to reflecting on life and creating life opportunities.

Lewis also spoke to the bunch about meditation and take sole control of one’s emotions when in challenging or exciting situations.

He stressed that maintaining clarity of one’s thoughts is key to deriving success both in the boat, in the classroom and the ocean of life.

“Be it in school, whether a challenging or an over-excited moment, that requires us to reset, we learnt those techniques over the weekend. In life, you can use these tools.

“I just want to facilitate as much opportunity as possible for everyone that crosses my path to have less struggle and more chance,” Lewis added.

A young sailor is all smiles at the Andrew Lewis Sailing Foundation 'Mentoring through Sailing' programme held at Vessigny Beach over the weekend. - Melvern Isaac

Additionally, Lewis incorporated several elements of boat and equipment maintenance into the vibrant group. He emphasised the importance of early preparation, in both sport and life, and the advantages of being fully aware of things that can hamper one’s progress.

He assisted the youngsters in observing if their boat had holes, if the sails were properly rigged and ropes properly fixed.

“As they become more conscious of the boat, in theory, I would hope that it reflects with the things they own, the people around you and to look at it as taking care of their equipment to facilitate their training,” he said.

The ‘Mentorship through Sailing’ programme was sponsored by Republic Bank who helped provide lunches, equipment among other investments for the promising sailors. The two-event was free of charge and ran from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Lewis was ably assisted by the foundation’s coach Jospeh Mulrain and head administrator Becky Suite.

“We had a fantastic group of individuals from all over the country come to spend time with me under my guidance to look at the sport of sailing as a tool to succeed in life,” he concluded.

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