Smooth sailing: Lee White and Peter Bromby are turning over their Christmas tree campaign to help develop the next generation of young sailors. *Bermuda Sun file photo
Smooth sailing: Lee White and Peter Bromby are turning over their Christmas tree campaign to help develop the next generation of young sailors. *Bermuda Sun file photo

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26: Local youth sailors have Peter Bromby and Lee White to thank for a fund raising tool that has helped keep Bermuda on the international sailing map for the past 20 years.  

Bromby and White turned over their long running Christmas tree campaign to help the island's sailing fraternity develop the next generation of top sailors.  

The unique sales formula developed by Bromby and White provides a great service to the tree purchasing community while raising funds that have assisted four Olympic sailing campaigns and one Youth Olympic Campaign over the past 20 years.

Now spearheaded by the Bermuda Sailing Association (BSA), but still under the trained eye of Bromby and White, they hope to raise money to assist young sailors competing abroad.

Along with the BSA, beneficiaries include sailors from Sandys Boat Club and the Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association.  Bermuda Youth Sailing Campaigns, as they are called, even have a new website and online ordering and payment system to help them reach more people and make the process easier.  

Local residents can go to www.trees4sail.com and pick their choice of four size ranges of premium Quebec balsams, pay securely online and have them delivered right to their doorstep in early December for no additional charge. Satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are unhappy in any way, your tree will be replaced at no charge.

It all started in 1991 while leading up to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Bromby and then crew Paul Fisher needed to bolster the coffers of their sailing campaign and came up with an idea to bring in a container of Christmas trees to sell from the Sandys Boat Club.  While the first year proved a bit problematic and not very lucrative, Bromby changed his business plan.

After teaming up with Lee White for the next Olympic quadrennium they decided to pre-sell the trees bysending out fliers in the mail in September and have people pre-pay and pre-order their trees.  

Once the trees reached Bermuda, they would get in their respective trucks with a group of friends and family and deliver the trees to their customer's doorsteps for free, a service everyone embraced.

The business grew each year and became the foundation of their sailing competition budget. A dedicated group of volunteers made it all possible. Olympic sailing campaigns would cost the pair $100,000 per year as they needed to compete with the best Star sailors at top regattas all over the world.   

The cornerstone of the funding would come from the Christmas Tree campaign. Additional funding from the Bermuda Olympic Association Elite Athlete fund along with money from private donations and corporate sponsorship would make up the balance.  

Bromby recalled, "The Christmas trees proved to be a big help for us when asking for corporate support in the island's board rooms.  

They were able to see that we weren't just coming to them with our hand out, but were investing our own sweat equity to make it all happen."

Bromby's success on the water is well documented and he is unquestionably regarded as one of Bermuda's best sailors ever to touch a helm.

Together with Lee White they brought home numerous titles and trophies from around the world but the duo are probably best known for their performance at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

The two man Star boat team fell just short of the Bronze medal after a bit of bad luck in the final days of the regatta.

Their desire to help young sailors realize their own competitive dreams through the Christmas tree campaign is probably the best legacy they can give to the next generation of local sailors.

The Christmas trees are scheduled to arrive on November 27th and expect to all be delivered by December 2.

There are dozens of volunteers required to empty the many containers, trim the bottoms of the trees and load and deliver dozens of trees.

If you would like to volunteer in any way or donate trucking services, please call the BSA office at 295-7935. For more information on ordering your tree please visit the website www.trees4sail.com or e-mail info@trees4sail.com.