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Innovative Sailing Race Provides Opportunities for Youth in Maritime

September 16, 2020

On September 20, 2020, a new model of sailing race “launches” on Shilshole Bay to raise funds to support the mission of the schooner Adventuress. Owned and operated by the nonprofit Sound Experience, the 133-foot National Historic Landmark ship is an icon of the Salish Sea, with more than 30,000 children and teens sailing aboard over the last three decades.

The Adventuress Cup — A Race for the Salish Sea blends traditional sailboat racing with the latest drone and virtual production technology to be experienced in-person or virtually. The inclusive event involves a boat parade, sailing race, and the opportunity for everyone to tune-in and watch the action live on Facebook or at the Sound Experience website.

Rusty Lhamon, Sound Experience Board Member and Race Chair, says, “During a year in which COVID-19 has changed all of our paradigms, we are creating an event with both real and virtual components that will be exciting and meaningful to all participants, those who sail in person and those who participate from miles away.” The event replaces the organization’s fall gala which in recent years has raised more than $150,000 to provide critical support for youth education, including its popular Girls at the Helm program. 

Like many youth-serving nonprofits, COVID-19 has hit Sound Experience especially hard. But Executive Director Catherine Collins is optimistic. "We are still here thanks entirely to the generosity of those who believe in the power of Adventuress to change kids’ lives.” The ship’s programs focus on maritime skills, environmental stewardship, resilience, and connection to each other and the natural world.

“At Sound Experience, we believe that we are all shipmates,” shares Collins. “The one thing we hear most from kids at the end of a program is, ‘I would never have been friends with [her/him/them] if we hadn’t sailed together.’” Whether it is experiencing the marine environment for the first time, taking the helm of a tall ship, or learning what it means to be a shipmate, programs aboard Adventuress have been changing perspectives and lives for decades in the Puget Sound region. 

The Port of Seattle has partnered with Sound Experience to help provide the opportunity for youth to learn about the region’s robust maritime industries and environmental programs. In recent years, the Port’s Workforce Development team worked with Sound Experience to invite underrepresented teens from the Seattle area to sail aboard the Adventuress followed by a day of educational programming at the Corinthian Yacht Club Seattle.

In the summer months, you will most likely see the Adventuress moored on the end of I-dock at the Port’s Shilshole Bay Marina

To learn more and to pre-register, visit the signup page.

Top photo credit: E. Becker

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