National Geographic : 2007 Dec
together to attract African-Americans to the sailing community. Mixon used his entrepreneurial skills to organize the business, and Pinkney used his reputation as a master sailor and a positive role model to draw people to the trips. Together with the Black Boaters Summit they have sailed the British Virgin Islands and shared their love of sailing with a new generation of African-Americans. "It was an uphill battle to try to convince people to get out on the water with nothing more than a sail and a rope," says Mixon. In fact, according to Mixon, many of the participating sailors cannot even swim and had no previous exposure to open water. "At the end of the day it's very rewarding to see the smiles on the faces of our first-timers," he adds. The Summit, an annual summer event, which initially tested the waters with only ten participants, is now in its tenth year and has attracted as many as 280 sailors on 24 boats. All of the boats' captains are African-American men and women who have made sailing their sport. It's evolved into a network that has created many friendships and six marriages. Although the project has mostly been a labor of love, Mixon would love to find a co-entrepreneur to build his business while he plans his next adventure. "I'm looking for someone who can take what I've done over the past ten years and take it to the next level," says Mixon. Pinkney's latest venture is the Amistad Freedom Tour, an educational project which retraces the famous voyage of La Amistad, a symbol in history's movement to abolish slavery. The new Amistad serves as a floating classroom during its 16-month, 14,000-mile journey from Connecticut to Great Britain, Lisbon, West Africa, and the Caribbean. Pinkney serves as first master and spokesman for the project. Says Pinkney, "You can't make fantasies happen, but you can make your dreams come true... Persistence, diligence...it's going to take water in some kind of way: salt water, sweat, or tears-but you'll make it. That's what I'm most proud of...I turned a dream into a reality-not just for me, but for a lot of young people as well." U U ~ D- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Image Collection The Personal Advisors of Ameriprise Financial Financial planning services and investments offered through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. The people portrayed are not clients of Ameriprise Financial. Ameriprise Financialand National Geographic are not affiliated. © 2007Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.