Bronx youth launch newest vessel ‘Triumph’

Rocking the Boat students celebrated the completion of their newest project, a 19-foot sailboat named “Triumph” at a launch festival on June 7. - Photo courtesy of Joaquin Cotten

More than 200 people gathered along the Bronx River in Hunts Point on Saturday, June 7, to celebrate the launch of “Triumph,” Rocking the Boat’s newest vessel in their wooden fleet.

“It was a pretty exciting day,” program executive director Adam Green said about the event that celebrated Rocking the Boat’s biggest and most unique boat to date.

The event also kicked off their new sailing program, which will allow the participating high school students the opportunity to take what they learn in the classroom for real sea time experience, especially on their newest boat.

At 19 x 8 feet, Green said the 12-person craft is the optimum training tool for the agency’s new program.

“This boat will allow the capacity to take all of our kids out on the week-long trip,” he explained, referencing the group’s two, five-day On-Water sailing trips from Poughkeepsie down the Hudson River to the City this summer.

“They get a little dreamy when they think of the longer trips,” Maritime skills director Jim Bender said.

While Rocking the Boat began sailing on its own vessels a couple of years ago, it wasn’t until April that they offered a sailing program to their eager student sailors.

Green said the course is a key addition to the Boatbuilding Program that’s educated more than 400 students from more than 40 different high schools since Rocking the Boat’s beginning in 1998.

“I think sailing is another exciting, dynamic, sexy tool,” he explained about actively involving the youth in all aspects of the boating experience.

Rocking the Boat recently teamed up with SUNY Maritime College to enhance their skills with weekly sailing practices.

Though Green said it’s been a treasured asset to have the school’s facilities and expertise on hand, he looks forward to sailing on the program’s own fleet this summer.

As the 23rd boat in the Rocking the Boat’s flotilla, Green explained “Triumph’s” custom design, coined the Bronx River Expedition Boat, is the first in a long line of the group’s creations.

“The goal really is to build up our own fleet,” he said.

Bender said that with the group’s additional experience, they’re considering beginning a high school sailing team.

“So we’ll be working up to that over the next few semesters,” he said.

Also high on the agenda is Rocking the Boat’s mission to teach, challenge, nurture and motivate youth.

By offering south Bronx teens the opportunity to venture off land in an unlikely location, Green said Rocking the Boat strives to show the students that nothing is out of their reach if they have the dream and drive to make it come true.

Currently operating all On-Water and Job Skills programs at the Jose E. Serrano Riverside Campus for Arts and the Environment, by the end of 2008, Rocking the Boat will enjoy a brand new 6,000 square foot building for all of their programs at 812 Edgewater Road. The organization will hold a ribbon-cutting event in January of 2009.

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