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Saturday, June 25, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBoys And Girls Club Gets New 'Clubhouse On the Water'

Boys And Girls Club Gets New 'Clubhouse On the Water'

Some two dozen Boys and Girls Club kids join O'Neil Canton (far right) and Anne Wachtmeister (in front of Canton) in thanking John "Big Beard" Macy (standing) for donating his sailing catamaran The Flyer. (click to enlarge)A hundred St. Croix members of the Boys & Girls Club of the V.I. will skim the seas around the big island on Big Beard’s Adventure Tours’ original 40-foot catamaran the Flyer this summer, donated by John "Big Beard" Macy himself.

"This is an opportunity for our kids to take ownership of something, and ownership of the labor, the maintenance and repair," Boys & Girls Club Executive Director O’Neil Canton said on the Christiansted boardwalk Friday. "They will be learning character while maintaining our new clubhouse on the water," Canton said.

Canton sees the vessel as a valuable cooperation and team-building tool.

"It takes a team to sail a boat like this," he said. "We have kids from different neighborhoods and schools and they need to learn to work together," he said.

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Teachers have already contacted them about working together to take students to Buck Island, Canton said. And some members of the Boy Scouts have talked about collaborating on a group sail from Cramer Park to Jack and Isaac Bay, then to the Boy Scout Camp, camping at each stopping point, he said.

They have also talked about a trip circumnavigating St. Croix, but that would take real sailing expertise and planning, he said.

The Boys & Girls Club summer camp starts in two weeks, and they hope to have the boat ready to sail before then and incorporate it into the summer curriculum, said Anne Wachtmeister, vice president of the Boys & Girls Club.

"This is a great opportunity for us, but it doesn’t come free," Wachtmeister said, ticking off a long list of repairs and changes needed to the vessel to get it ready to carry groups of kids of all ages onto the seas. "We are really looking for boating enthusiasts, companies and individuals to volunteer," she said. "We want to be training kids in boat maintenance, water safety and sailing, if anyone from our boat yards has some time."

Before going on the sea, they want to install a railing around the edges, to help keep smaller children safer, Wachtmeister said.

"We need a little more work topside putting the railing all around," she said, urging volunteers to pitch in. Those who would like to help can contact the Boys and Girls Club at 778-8990.

Many area businesses have already chipped in with time, money or materials, Canton and Wachtmeister said. Lisa’s Paints helpd with materials, Douglas Brady of the law firm Jacobs and Brady kicked in, and St. Croix Marine were among those who gave tremendous support, she said.

The Flyer was built in France and launched in the Mediterranean in September 1984, Macy said. It was sailed by its owner to St. Martin, who moved back to France. Macy, who began leading snorkeling trips to Buck Island in 1979, bought Flyer in 1985 and has been using it ever since.

But since the company bought two more catamarans, it has mostly sat idle, so he decided to give it to a deserving charity or nonprofit, he said. Meanwhile, Big Beard’s Adventure Tours just renewed their contract with the National Park Service to bring tours to Buck Island through 2022, Macy said. So for an inimitable sailing and snorkeling adventure in Buck Island’s coral canyons, call Big Beard at 773-4482.

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Some two dozen Boys and Girls Club kids join O'Neil Canton (far right) and Anne Wachtmeister (in front of Canton) in thanking John "Big Beard" Macy (standing) for donating his sailing catamaran The Flyer. (click to enlarge)A hundred St. Croix members of the Boys & Girls Club of the V.I. will skim the seas around the big island on Big Beard's Adventure Tours' original 40-foot catamaran the Flyer this summer, donated by John "Big Beard" Macy himself.

"This is an opportunity for our kids to take ownership of something, and ownership of the labor, the maintenance and repair," Boys & Girls Club Executive Director O’Neil Canton said on the Christiansted boardwalk Friday. "They will be learning character while maintaining our new clubhouse on the water," Canton said.

Canton sees the vessel as a valuable cooperation and team-building tool.

"It takes a team to sail a boat like this," he said. "We have kids from different neighborhoods and schools and they need to learn to work together," he said.

Teachers have already contacted them about working together to take students to Buck Island, Canton said. And some members of the Boy Scouts have talked about collaborating on a group sail from Cramer Park to Jack and Isaac Bay, then to the Boy Scout Camp, camping at each stopping point, he said.

They have also talked about a trip circumnavigating St. Croix, but that would take real sailing expertise and planning, he said.

The Boys & Girls Club summer camp starts in two weeks, and they hope to have the boat ready to sail before then and incorporate it into the summer curriculum, said Anne Wachtmeister, vice president of the Boys & Girls Club.

"This is a great opportunity for us, but it doesn't come free," Wachtmeister said, ticking off a long list of repairs and changes needed to the vessel to get it ready to carry groups of kids of all ages onto the seas. "We are really looking for boating enthusiasts, companies and individuals to volunteer," she said. "We want to be training kids in boat maintenance, water safety and sailing, if anyone from our boat yards has some time."

Before going on the sea, they want to install a railing around the edges, to help keep smaller children safer, Wachtmeister said.

"We need a little more work topside putting the railing all around," she said, urging volunteers to pitch in. Those who would like to help can contact the Boys and Girls Club at 778-8990.

Many area businesses have already chipped in with time, money or materials, Canton and Wachtmeister said. Lisa's Paints helpd with materials, Douglas Brady of the law firm Jacobs and Brady kicked in, and St. Croix Marine were among those who gave tremendous support, she said.

The Flyer was built in France and launched in the Mediterranean in September 1984, Macy said. It was sailed by its owner to St. Martin, who moved back to France. Macy, who began leading snorkeling trips to Buck Island in 1979, bought Flyer in 1985 and has been using it ever since.

But since the company bought two more catamarans, it has mostly sat idle, so he decided to give it to a deserving charity or nonprofit, he said. Meanwhile, Big Beard's Adventure Tours just renewed their contract with the National Park Service to bring tours to Buck Island through 2022, Macy said. So for an inimitable sailing and snorkeling adventure in Buck Island's coral canyons, call Big Beard at 773-4482.