for the love of the game

Brit expat Elizabeth Jordan sailed into Antigua ten years ago and quickly fell in love with the place, making the island nation her home.  She quickly got involved with the Antigua Yacht Club, and over the course of the next few years, worked her way up to become Commodore, a position she’s now in her fourth year of holding.  Jordan’s tenure has seen the AYC become a truly special place, devoid of pretense despite the patronage of some of the world’s biggest superyachts docked right in front of her club.  She and her staff have turned the YC into a great place to hang out, with an awesome restaurant and social scene, while Antigua Classics and Sailing Week have held on to become some of the most important Caribbean events of the season.

Elizabeth’s job also opened her eyes to the silly situation on an island with some of the world’s best beaches and sailing conditions, where something like 10% of the locals will ever learn to swim, much less sail.  It’s certainly not uncommon for affluent whites to be the only sailors in a formerly colonial nation, but for Jordan, it’s not OK, and she decided to do something about it.

She’s worked tirelessly to garner support from yachties, companies, and the government to develop the new Antigua National Sailing Academy, and in its first year, the learn-to-sail program has already reached program capacity of around 150 kids per week.  While most of the current students come from more affluent private schools, a new partnership with an Antiguan swimming school will soon allow poorer state school students to safely begin learning to sail as well.  “Of all the sports these children participate in, this is the one that can offer lucrative life-long employment right at our front door,” said Jordan.  When asked what has motivated her to work two full-time jobs for the YC and Academy, her answer seemed obvious. “ Because I love sailing,” she said.

Listen to the full 13 minute interview with Liz below, and find out how you can support the Academy here.