MVP Helm Report: June 2021

Ahoy from the Bridge!

Lot's of good news to report. The MVP's "Name Your Boat" campaign was a big success. Five donors (Blumenfield, IGY American Yacht Harbor, IGY Yacht Haven Grande, XO Bistro and Sudi's at Sapphire Village) stepped up to create a "fleet" of Optimist! These small sailing dinghies along with our 19' Flying Scot (thanks to earlier donations of Heavy Materials, Lana Vento Charitable Trust, Prior Family Foundation, Ken Morton, CFVI, Seven Seas Water) make up the perfect training tools that any sailing school, anywhere in the world, could hope for!

We picked the vessels up from the STYC after their Opti races and brought them around to the MVP office. The sails are now rigged and after the logos of the sponsors are applied, we'll have "dunking" day in the sheltered waters of the Mangrove Lagoon. Meanwhile, Dr. Henry Smith continues his Thurs. afternoon sailing lessons aboard the Flying Scot and with all vessels needed - we start building skills that will last students a lifetime!

MVP's Happy Island Sailing Club (HISC)! There will soon be the announcements that parents can sign their children up for sailing lessons. This will be an activity that is offered separate from our vocational training efforts. HISC "Learn to Sail" memberships (w/modest fees) will be sold in 2 hr. blocks of sailing time (reserved) on Sundays and Holidays. Friend and artist Janet Guthrie created a fun logo for the program and we'll plan for 'kick off' in early August. Not only will the advent of this sailing club help to bring in sustaining revenues for the MVP's training programs, we also think that new vocational students and sponsors will be recruited via the memberships.

In time there will be HISC tee-shirts and hats for sale and we expect the program to expand and include races with parents cheering from the grandstands! Why not throw in an occasional family BBQ too?

The development of a "Wish List" page is up next! The MVP is growing and so are the expenses (part-time instructors, boat maintenance, pool water/chemicals, student lunches, etc.). As a 501 c-3 non-profit we've learned that if you don't ask for it, donors can't know the needs, nor the cost of sponsorship. Soon there will be the addition of a new menu button on the website to allow for this. The list will be the broken down into annual costs, and the immediate needs. We think this will help the vocational program to continue its growth and of course, long term sustainability is the real goal.

Go Nikole Barns and Lara Dallman Weiss of Team USA! Last Saturday (June 26th.) was a special day for MVP students! They arrived class and immediately started preparing questions for a 10 a.m. Zoom meeting with Lt. Barnes of the US Coast Guard. Nikki along with teammate Lara will soon to be seen racing a 470 sailboat, representing the USA and USCG (and of course we in the USVI) in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics!

Nikki was "bawn" and raised here on St. Thomas and is the daughter of proud parents Dean and Carol Barns (aka writer Bareuther).

The students asked great questions and Nikki gave them inspirational answers. We were happy for the opportunity to speak with Nikki and hope that everyone will follow and cheer the team on! See their website at:

Straight Ahead! JL