News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Polaris Holding Company proudly announces the sponsorship and support of one of the Bermuda teams that will be competing in the International One Design (IOD) World Championships in Hankø, Norway. Departing on June 13, the team will showcase its talents in this prestigious event, running from June 15 to June 22.

Kelsey Durham, a dedicated stevedore with Polaris subsidiary Stevedoring Services Limited and captain of Bermuda Team 2, expressed his gratitude and excitement. “We wouldn’t have been able to go without the support of the sponsors, so we are grateful for all the contributions,” Durham said. “Sailing has been self-funded for years, and yet it has been one of the country’s most successful sports internationally. Over the decades, the success of local sailing icons such as Peter Bromby, Stevie Dickinson, and Malcolm Smith have shown that Bermuda is a world class sailing hub. Financial support of what is a very expensive sport can help expand access and produce even more success for our island.”

Durham, who has been sailing for most of his life, first explored the IOD class in 2019/2020. Reflecting on his recent experience at the Bermuda International Race Week, he shared, “We had a regatta a few weeks ago, with two Bermuda teams and the rest being international competitors. I won the B series, got 3rd in the A series, and finished second overall. The results gave me a confidence boost, especially since it was my first-ever race week in this class.”

“Sailing has made me independent,” Durham, who started sailing at five years old, explained that young sailors are introduced to the sport solo, navigating their first experiences in an Opti alone. If the boat capsizes, the young sailor must learn to handle it himself.  Durham said, “This independence and teamwork needed to be a competitive sailor, directly translates to my role as a stevedore on the Bermuda Docks. I’m thankful to Polaris for the time off and the contribution to our team, helping make it possible to represent our country.”

Polaris Holding Company donated $2,400 to cover all the meals for the entire competition period, demonstrating their commitment to supporting local talent. Polaris Holding Company CEO, Randy Rochester, expressed his pride in the team and their achievements. “We are thrilled to support one of the Bermuda teams as they head to the IOD World Championships,” Rochester said. “At Polaris, we quietly power Bermuda through Stevedoring Services’ work on the docks and connecting communities in the East with our asphalt manufacture and paving work at East End Asphalt Company. That’s why choosing to support our team member Kelsey and his fellow sailors, was a simple decision. Sponsoring these talented sailors aligns perfectly with our values of teamwork and commitment to our island.

The Bermuda 2 team, skippered by Kelsey Durham, includes Nico Stefani, Heath Foggo, Roger Beach, and Michael Richold. Bermuda 1 will be skippered by Patrick Cooper. Both teams will proudly represent Bermuda, donning Bermuda shorts at the competition’s opening ceremony, where a boat draw ensures a fair competition.

Polaris Holding Company extends its best wishes to both teams and looks forward to their outstanding performance in Norway.

Top Feature Photo:  Kelsey Durham pictured receiving a certificate from Polaris Chairwoman, Cheryl Hayward-Chew.  CEO Randy Rochester(centre) is flanked by representatives of the Caribbean Maritime University.  (File photo Fall, 2023)