It’s been a busy two years for the project the sailing community has come to know as Greig City Academy and Project Scaramouche. In 2017 they were the first comprehensive state school to complete the Rolex Fastnet Race and in 2019 they are aiming for the first comprehensive state school to do back-to-back races.
On the 3rd August 2019, a new crew, who are aiming to beat the 2017 crew’s overall position, will take on the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. However, since crossing the finishing line in 2017 what has changed, where is the project now and what are its aspirations? Jon Holt explains.
“Following the Fastnet race in 2017 a great deal has happened, this is a school project, so in some respects, it’s like being on a bit of a conveyor belt, and the students come and go, but we keep the project moving. The goal posts get altered along the way; however, our aspirations have remained at the heart of our project through the peaks and troughs we have had along the way.” Comments Jon Holt, founder of the project, and teacher at Greig City Academy.
Greig City Academy and Project Scaramouche is about the students at the school, it exists to give their students a lifelong interest in the sport of sailing. It provides a chance to meet those they would not come across in their everyday life in London. 2017 Rolex Fastnet helm Montel Fagan-Jordan, went on to the win the YJA Young Sailor of the Year, following that he gained work experience with Alex Thompson Racing (ATR). He has taken a gap year, and in between working with ATR he is gaining sea miles doing yacht deliveries as well as crewing on Redshift. In September he is going to Portsmouth University to study Sports Journalism, no doubt there will be a focus on sailing somewhere! Camilo Oribio has gone on to be part of the regular crew on Redshift as well as preparing or two-handed racing with Abu racing and he has competed in many classes including the 6m worlds. He raced in the Etchells North American championships in Houston and will be competing in the Etchells worlds in Texas. The former crew continue to support the next crew, who are hoping to go one better than them overall.
In an interview with Mark Jardine of Yachts and Yachting, Montel was quoted, “I’ve seen what people like Azat and Samuel [this year’s crew] have learnt in such a short time, so I’ll be quite overwhelmed if they do go better,” said Montel. “I’ll still have my excuse that we blew two spinnakers and that’ll be my excuse if they do beat us!”
In 2017, the project was very much in its infancy, and Jon Holt and the project did what they could with the resources available, support from companies in the marine industry and their sponsor Pioneer Underwriters coming in with the financial support just prior to the race. In 2019 financially they continue to seek all the available funds and Jon is continuously looking for trust funds and companies to support this project. “We have evidence to show the difference it’s making to the lives of our students and we [the teacher and students] are truly grateful to everyone who is helping keep us afloat. Literally.”
At school level, Greig City Academy has seen an increase in the intake of those looking to attend the school. “Sailing is improving the lives of our students and opening up opportunities I only dreamt would be possible,” comments Jon.
Jon goes on to explain that the project has just gained charitable status, and it now The Scaramouche Sailing Trust, registered charity number 1183400. “It is a hope that this status will help secure the future of the project,” comments Jon Holt. The project is developing relationships with other schools looking to use their experience to help introduce sailing to their students.
The project has a growing fleet and is becoming infamous in Cowes and the Solent as a whole, each branded ‘Greig City Academy’ and many with the red stripe on the topsides, just like Scaramouche. As a school they continue to compete in Etchells, Squibs, Azat and Seun are preparing their EBoat for Round the Island Race, as well as sailing in dinghies up on a reservoir in London on West Reservoir, where each week 40 students are booked in to try sailing, in fact 64 turn up!
“We can’t wait to be back in Cowes in August, lining up once more for the Rolex Fastnet Race. We have completed our qualifying miles, so, for now, it’s time to get our heads down and make sure Scaramouche is in tip-top condition for 3rd August. As always safety comes first, I know this crew will be doing all they can to beat our time and position from 2017,” concludes Jon.
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