The next Peter Bromby or Paula Lewin may emerge from a beginner's sailor programme.

The Bermuda Sailing Association (BSA) began its sixth annual WaterWise programme this month. The programme has nearly 150 students participating in this year's programme.

The M1 students from eight schools across the island start with the dry-land sessions using the Opti Simulators on the school courts and fields. These sessions include seminars on points of sail and parts of the boat as well as practice sessions on boating skills.

This is a feeder programme into the Sloop Programme, which is targeted at M3 students and is put together by the same curriculum developer as the Sloop Programme. ACE has donated $8,000 toward developing the curriculum.

In June, the students will put their new skills and knowledge, learned through the WaterWise Programme, to practice on the water. Students will use Opti sailboats at Darrell's Island, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, Sandy's Boat Club and Sea Cadets (St. George's).

Deborah Sullivan Gravelle, program director for the BSA said: "Sailing is, and has always been, a national past-time in Bermuda.

"This programme gives us the opportunity to teach young Bermudians how to sail. It really gets the students involved in the sport. Sailing also teaches the kids appreciation for the water and the marine environment.

"It's easy to see that the students just love getting out on the water, and it really teaches them how to engage in competitive sports. We have seen great success from the WaterWise Programme in the past. One student from last year's programme, Dimitri Stevens, came 44th in the South American Championships this March. We look forward to another great year and many more success stories."