By Bob Osborn, SV Pandora, President SDSA

Help Antigua build a better future for you

I am excited to introduce a new scholarship program in support of the marine trades in Antigua, in partnership with the Antigua and Barbuda Marine and Yachting Association, ABYMA,  and the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, RI.

About 18 months ago my crew member member Bob Farley and I hatched the idea of a scholarship program to support the marine trades in Antigua.

Having access to repairs and technical support when far from home is critical to spending enjoyable time afloat, and everyone soon learns that cruising is simply boat repair in exotic places.  And there is nothing that breaks stuff on boats as much as passage making, so as the fleet arrives in Antigua each season there is often an urgent need to find skilled technicians.  

In addition to the beautiful harbors and iconic Nelson’s Dockyard, the availability of service and support makes Antigua an ideal landfall and the perfect place to begin a season of cruising the eastern Caribbean.  However, like cruisers of a “certain age”, many in the marine trades are growing older.  This trend is not unique to Antigua with many yards in the US also having to look hard for skilled labor. 

IYRS was founded by Elizabeth Meyers in 1993.  She is well known as the woman who funded the restoration of Shamrock, the first of the iconic J-class yachts from the 1930s to be brought back to life.  Shamrock is part of what is now a thriving international fleet, many of which frequent Antigua. 

The goal of this scholarship program is to bring Antiguan youth to the US to learn key skills that they can use in their home country to service the yachting community including the Dawgs. 

We now have our first student, Ishmael Auguiste, in Newport, enrolled in the 6-month Marine Systems program. Students may earn up to 6 industry certifications and learn to install, repair, and troubleshoot engines, electrical systems, computer-based electronics, and hydraulics in a hands-on environment.   

Ishmael was chosen by a committee made up of members of the ABYMA.   In support of this program, Antiguan businesses raised more than $10,000 of the $50,000 that will be needed to support a student, including tuition and living expenses for the duration of the course.  The goal of the program is to raise funds to send two students a year to Newport for training and build the marine trades in Antigua for years to come. 

When Ishmael completes the program, he will return to Antigua to begin working in the industry and will have valuable skills to help all of us.  

Salty Dawg is making an initial donation of $1,000 in support of this program and we encourage everyone to donate to help ensure a robust future for the marine trades in our host country.  Let’s support those who support us and consider giving generously to this fund. 

IYRS is a not for profit so your donation may be tax deductible.  Giving Link: (Be sure to note "Antigua Scholarship" in the Gift Allocation section)

For a description of the program that Ishamel is attending, follow this link:

For more on the history of IYRS

If you have questions or comments about this program feel free to reach out to me, Bob Osborn at [email protected]