Not everyone wants to race sailing dinghies

by Chris Kameen on May 9, 2014

Freestyle fun sailingAny one who has read my articles before will have noticed that I don’t advocate that the racing pathway should be the only sailing pathway. It annoys me that one of the strategic goals of Yachting Australia is to “promote the Sailing Pathway amongst Clubs and Classes and those new to sailing”. This is a sailing pathway that leads to Olympic success and I strongly believe this is not THE sailing pathway – it is A sailing pathway.

Today I have just seen a fantastic presentation by Nevin Sayre, a US sailing coach and previous All American Collegiate sailor (this guy can race well!) This is a 21 minute you-tube presentation that if you have any interest in growing participation in the sport of sailing you should watch.

In the presentation he refers to US research which bears great similarities to the Gemba Sailing Participation report with regards to participation and drop off rates of sailors.

His comparisons with other sports and their participation rates at the ages where we drop off are striking and insightful.

Some key points that I took from this were that kids love board sports, they like to look cool and they like adventure.. We should make our sailing programmes more about making people lifelong advocates and lovers of the sport rather than only offering racing options in gear that was designed 50 years ago…

It’s like taking your kids to ski school and giving them wooden skis!

At Sydney Sailing School we are desperately trying to address these issues which is one of the reasons why we are hosting our Try-a-boat-day on Saturday 7th June. On this day sailors will be able to see 9 different classes of boat that we use for training… watch this space to see how we go.

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