Firebug

Community Support Groups

FireBug to the rescue – learning by doing! Several community support groups have used FireBug yacht building to boost young people’s interest in learning and/or get them back on track. Some groups link up with schools or other learning institutions (such as Tafe in Australia) or sailing clubs. The enthusiastic response from the ‘kids’is similar to that found at low decile or remotely located schools. It’s ‘Learning by Doing’ at it’s best.

Náutico Clube Boa Esperança In Portugal

Amazing! This is a double charity – handicapped people building boats for poor kids to go sailing in!

“Dear Peter, Allow me to introduce ourselves. We’re a small club born 1998 in Lisbon, Náutico Clube Boa Esperança. We like the name Good Hope because as it stands for reaching the aims we pursue which are some how different from regular clubs around here, our philosophy is sailing for everyone, no matter age or handicap, welfy or not, etc. Affordable sailing and a boat build by children is project we want to take on and clearly this is what designers of Firebug have made possible to everyone. Our workers are disable people that volunteered to build a boat for other children that cannot afford it. Best Regards, Antonio”

Forster Neighbourhood Centre at the Sydney Boat Show

The FNC at Forster north of Sydney have local funding to build two FireBugs. Local ‘kids’ with issues at home or at school will do the building then use the boats in Learn to Sail programs. Four of the Forster Neighborhood Centre builders provided the ‘labour’ for a live ’BugBuild at the Sydney Boat Show in July/August 08. A ‘Bug ‘shell’ was set up at the show and the builders worked live to finish it off. The ‘kids’ rose to the occasion and did an excellent job, see photo. Funding for this build was provided by International and Awlgrip Yacht Coatings and after the show the boat was donated to the FNC to boost their fleet.

’BugBuild on the Beach in the Fiji Islands

Well known Auckland Yachtsman Richard Brown while on holiday in Fiji's Yasawa Islands was amazed to see that the locals had no sailing skills and worse still, no boats! "I'm coming back in a few months time, said Richard", "And I'm going to help you build a FireBug so you can get out sailing!" The boat was built on one of the Lau Islands and a large crowd turned out on the launching day, see photo. Well done Richard!

Lake Tarawera Ratepayers Sailing Association

A group of locals living at the water’s edge, Lake Tarawera in New Zealand were lamenting the lack of activities for children and decided to do something about it. Three ’Bugs were purchased and some other larger dinghies and the Lake Tarawera Ratepayers Assocation Sailing Club was formed. Several years down the track I enquired how it was going and received this reply:

“Peter, Great to hear from you. Yes, we are still very active with up to 30 trainees. Our FireBugs (we have three) are our fundamental training class. Congratulations on the continuing success with the “Bugs”. Regards, Ian Thorpe (Lake Tarawera Ratepayers Assn)”

South Auckland School of Boat Building

This Marae funded school in Auckland’s troubled South Auckland was set up to help get local ‘off the rails’ Maori and Polynesian kids back on track. The school was popular with the pupils and showed good potential but for some reason funding was pulled and that was that – a great pity and disapointment for those who had worked hard to get things established. Victoria in the photo was ‘sleeping rough’ under a bridge prior to attending the school.

Titahi Bay Sailing Club

This season TBSC will have a fleet of 6 FireBugs which will be available for anyone to have a go in. Three of the boats are privately owned, one donated by the Brad Butterworth (ex Team NZ sailor) family and two funded by the Lion Foundation. The local kids have been turning up en masse.



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  Happy FNC builders at the Sydney Boat ShowGood HopeFireBug builders draw the crowds in Sydney Happy Lau Islanders launching Lulu the FireBug ‘Bug Sailors on Lake Tarawera NZ Victoria at the Sth Ak School of Boatbuilding Titahi Bay Sailing Club kids

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