Yachting Group to replicate successful Marine Training Project in North Sri Lanka

  • New boatyard in Velanai
  • Upto one hundred Tamil youth to be trained
  • One-year theory and practical courses

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, COLOMBO; Sail Lanka Yachting Group and Building a Future Foundation are to replicate in the north of Sri Lanka, their successful boat-building and marine training project for youth.

Following the recent inauguration of the project in Velanai in the Jaffna district, Pierre Pringiers, Chairman of SLYG said, “Our idea is to replicate in the north of Sri Lanka, the successful ‘Building a Future Foundation’ project which we developed in south Sri Lanka to assist the local economies, following the devastating tsunami of 2004. BAFF has already created hundreds of employment opportunities for young people in the yachting industry in the south of the island, and we hope to replicate this in Jaffna. Twelve youth from the north have already followed a theoretical and practical training course of 12-months duration at the BAFF training center in southern Sri Lanka.”

The project was inaugurated with Hon. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Fisheries as Chief Guest and in the presence of several distinguished guests. It has the blessings of the Governor of the northern province, Mr. Jeevan Thiagarajah.

“We believe Jaffna has the potential to be our new hub for marine and experiential tourism. It will become our third center of operations after Mirissa and the Port City Colombo Marina, and will allow us to develop local and cross-border tourism. The 540 square metre new SLYG training centre and boatyard is situated on a 4.5 acre land in Velanai.”

The Jaffna training centre will conduct courses in the basic skills of mechanical engineering, electricity, welding, refrigeration and air-conditioning, followed by hands-on experience in dedicated boat building, and outboard and inboard engine repair and maintenance. The courses which will be conducted over one-year, will comprise a mixture of theory and practical training to enable the graduates to work in the developing boat manufacturing industry in Sri Lanka. The practical training will be in the manufacture of yachts such as the Ocean Diamond – an 80-foot floating boutique hotel, and the Ceycat – a 55-foot sailing catamaran for water-based tourism both in Sri Lanka and overseas.

“We are aiming to bring Jaffna closer to Colombo by developing cruises to connect the Port City Colombo Marina and Jaffna so that it becomes our new hub for water-based tourism and marine tourism in the north, and eventually cross-border tourism as well,” Pringiers continued. “We plan to develop ferry boats with the Ceylon Shipping Corporation to be initially used locally, followed by commercial versions and boats for cross-border sailing in the future.”

Sail Lanka Charter – a SLYG company – has for several years been offering cruises around the islands off Jaffna from October to April. These cruises are in addition to other cruises offered in the seas off the south coast, east coast and west coast of the island. Passengers have the option of snorkeling and enjoying the beauty of underwater marine life including corals; swimming in the middle of the sea; sunning on the deck and even fishing for their own meals. All this is done under the careful supervision of qualified and skilled mariners with an emphasis on safety. Many of them are youth who have received training under the BAFF programmes.

“The yachts operated by Sail Lanka are mainly designed and built in Sri Lanka by our sister companies, BAFF Polymech (Pvt) Ltd and Solar Impulse,” Pringiers added. “Wind and solar power are the main sources of energy that power the fleet. Sail Lanka employees are trained and educated in-house. They receive training in sailing skills, yacht maintenance, technical repair skills, sailing related sales and marketing, and operational and administrative skills,” Pringiers said.

“Building a Future Foundation, which initiated the creation of Sail Lanka, facilitates local youth to develop and improve their talents and skills in a number of sailing related activities while respecting and preserving their environment,” he added.

“The new boatyard and marine training centre opened by Sail Lanka Yachting Group (SLYG) and Building a Future Foundation (BAFF) in Jaffna will provide boat-building training for upto one hundred Tamil youth with an opportunity to develop new livelihood skills,” the founder of Sail Lanka and Co-Founder, BAFF said.

“The training is totally free and all students will also be provided free breakfast, lunch, safety equipment and a daily allowance,” Pringiers explained. Once they complete the training, they will be offered both NAITA (National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority) and BAFF certificates, which are valid locally and internationally.” END.


BAFF Training Centre Inauguration – The inauguration of the SLYG Boatyard and BAFF Training Centre in Velanai, Jaffna district. L-R: Mr. Chaminda Sanjeewa, Project Manager BAFF Polymech (Pvt) Ltd., Mr. Jagath Adipola, Director Technical – Sail Lanka Yachting Group (Pvt) Ltd.; Capt. Ajith Peiris, Executive Chairman, Ceyline Group & CINEC; Dr. Tissa Jinasena, Co-Founder of BAFF; Mr. Pringiers, Chairman of Sail Lanka Yachting Group (Pvt) Ltd., and Co-Founder BAFF; Mr. I.K. Rajapaksa, Group Managing Director, Sail Lanka Yachting Group (Pvt) Ltd.; Mr. Ram Mahesh, Acting Consul General / Head of Chancery, Consulate General of India; Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, Former Sri Lanka Navy Commander; Rear Admiral Priyantha Perera, Commander, Northern Naval Area; Mr.W.S. Weeraman, Chairman, Ceylon Shipping Corporation; Mr. Saman Weerawardane, General Manager, BAFF Polymech (Pvt) Ltd. and Solar Impulse (Pvt) Ltd.
A trainee from the first batch of trainees from the north who were training in the south and will continue training in the north, receives his certificate from Minister of Fisheries, Hon. Douglas Devananda. Others L-R: Dr. Tissa Jinasena, Co-Founder, BAFF; Mr. Pierre Pringiers, Chairman of Sail Lanka Yachting Group (Pvt) Ltd., and Co-Founder, BAFF, and Mr. I.K. Rajapaksa, Group Managing Director, Sail Lanka Yachting Group (Pvt) Limited.
A Sail Lanka Charter Yacht in the waters off the Nainativu island in the Jaffna district.


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