Last month, RCSF Performance Squad sailor Charli Gray was awarded one of only a handful of scholarships to join the inaugural ‘BLAKE Inspire for Sailors’ programme – a six-day environmental leadership development adventure designed for emerging New Zealand sailors.
This epic adventure gives young sailors with a passion for the environment the chance to follow in the footsteps of Sir Peter Blake, learning and developing skills to lead positive change for our marine environment.
I caught up with Charli on this incredible experience and she shared with us some of her highlights and a few words of advice for other young sailors; "The Blake Inspire program gave me a greater appreciation for our marine environment. In July I was one of 30 students from years 11-13 from around New Zealand who participated in the Blake inspire program for sailors. Focusing on inspiring students to bring positive change to the conservation of our marine environment. Based in Auckland, we spent 5 jam-packed days completing a range of activities from sailing to Tiritiri Matangi Island on Lion [an iconic 80ft Whitbread International Ocean Racing yacht] to conservation programmes to visiting the Emirates base to a behind the scenes tours of Kelly Tarltons and the Auckland Museum.
A real highlight for me was the day we spent at Auckland University. During this day we listened to marine biologists, oceanographers and zoologists. Personally, I found it really inspiring to listen to so many individuals who shared the same passion; the marine environment.
At the end of the program I came away with a sense of how I can make small but effective changes within my own community to better conserve our marine environment. I was so lucky to receive the opportunity to complete the program and I really encourage anyone else to do it!"
Amazing Charli, well done! If you would like to find out more about the Blake Inspire For Sailors program, you can visit their website at; https://blakenz.org/blake-inspire-with-yachting-new-zealand