What boat is best for growing sailing participation

by Chris Kameen on February 19, 2014

Over the last 6 months Sydney Sailing School has introduced nearly 900 people to the sport of sailing, and has more than 120 kids and adults doing an organised sailing programme, over this period it would stand to reason that we have learnt some valuable lessons and we want to share them and help introduce more people to the sport.

Lesson 1: Sailing school boats must be plastic.

• Despite our best efforts boat crashes when learning are a part of life.

• You can create better games and have more fun when you aren’t worried about crashing. Check out this video!

• Boats will be run aground, and left on the beach

• You will need to be able to do land drills by getting in the boats on land.

• Bailing boats out after a capsize is no longer acceptable to new sailors.

• Shackles and split rings will get lost on the beach and your kit gets covered in sand.

Lesson 2: Boat sales are an important part of a sailing school business model.

• Turning over school boats to become boats sailed at the club is an important part of growing a fleet at a club.

• Students’ parents will want to buy a boat that they can sail too

• Adult students will want to buy the boat that they are taught in as it is familiar

Lesson 3: Pay to play is an important part of a sailing school model

• If the sailing school boats can be used for club racing then you have an instant fleet.

• Not everyone wants to race, some like to play and just go for a sail with friends or their kids

Lesson 4: Documentation and processes:

• There is a lot of documentation required and processes that make a sailing school operate. Having a system that you can follow makes things a lot easier

• Not leaving things until last minute makes a huge difference and saves you money.

• A structured pathway makes for happy parents, they want to know the process and how it links with their own ambitions.

The Sailing School solution

Taking these lessons into account we found that there weren’t many boats on the market that met our needs and so sourced them. We have ended up with a small range of boats that meet all of our requirements and have an existing program either in Australia or Internationally; Open Bic, RS Quba and RS Feva and RS Vision. Not only have I found these boats to be very suitable but they are seriously competitively priced when you consider them against the incumbent boats used for sail training in Australia.

School holiday sailing CampThe Open Bic, is a junior single hander that is all about fun, for stages 1-3 for kids under 10, we sail them two up. For learn to race, seamanship skills and larger kids we use them as single handers. Unlike the plastic optimist which is a great boat for introducing sailors, the open bic is the same boat for teaching as racing. We don’t want fragile boats for kids to crash!

Gybing the RS QubaThe RS Quba, This is the #1 boat for teaching people to sail according to the ISAF website when assessed against a number of different criteria. A jib can be added to make this a simple double hander for teaching

Adult dinghy sailingThe RS Feva, the best selling double handed sailing dinghy in the world, with a wide range of rig options, from single hander with no stays to junior race boat with race main, jib and asymmetric spinnaker. This boat can be used for teaching adults or kids and offers the opportunity for international junior racing. We believe that this double hander is the perfect stepping stone into Flying11’s, 29ers and 420s.

RS Vision for saleThe RS Vision, a bigger boat that will comfortably take 3 adults or a large number of kids. With a jib and asymmetric spinnaker, this is great boat for having an assistant instructor or instructor onboard, and teaching all levels of the syllabus including day sailing.

At Sydney Sailing School we are offering clubs, schools and other institutions the opportunity to take advantage of what we have learnt by offering sailing school and sailing club packages, which we believe will transform the sailing landscape!

Packages start at 6 boats for under $11,000! Seriously good  value.

For more information drop me an email info@sydneysailingschool.com.au


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