Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius - Fixed Value

A letter to Robert and Sandy Oatley

by J M on 24 Jul 2014
Filling a lake with young sailors. J M
A letter to Robert and Sandy Oatley

Dear Robert and Sandy,

As I read the news that Team Australia has withdrawn as Challenger of Record for the America's Cup I cheered quietly to myself. If I cheered loudly I would probably have been thrown out of the country!

Australia won the Cup back in 1983 over 30 years ago……….. yes it was that long ago. It was an incredible feat and a significant moment in Australian history; however the country and the world have changed out of sight since that time.

I understand the lure of winning back the Cup and bringing the Auld Mug back to Australian shores once again. I watched lots of video highlights and the nail biting finish was incredible. The Americas Cup is one of the pinnacles of sailing, like the Volvo Ocean Race, winning an Olympic gold medal and perhaps as a beginner sailor completing your first race. Yes finishing your first race is a significant event for a new sailor

Ask any sailor to tell you why they like the sport and all sorts of descriptions come up – freedom, thrill, independence, challenging. What other sport is there where an 11 year old is in charge of their own vehicle out of earshot of parents, free to go where they chose. Teenagers like yacht clubs because of the friends they make and the camaraderie.

Would teenage sailors like Australia to win the America’s Cup? Possibly.

Would it make any difference to what happens at their yacht club on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon? Probably not.

I work in sport development and I’m well aware that sport retention, and in particular youth retention, is a hard nut to crack.

When I heard that Team Australia had withdrawn I cheered; because there lies before you an opportunity to affect more change at the grassroots of sailing than ever before.

How? By significant investment in the sport focused on junior and youth participation.

The money that you would have put to the Americas Cup please consider investing it in sailing on a scale that will affect change at a club level that will create future champions as well as mass participation.

Back in 2011 Yachting Australia commissioned Gemba to conduct comprehensive research to get a better understanding of sailings customers. The research included the general public’s perception of sailing.

The findings – the general public think sailing is elitist, exclusive, expensive and dangerous. Team Australia in the America's Cup would have reinforced those perceptions.

A number of years ago Yachting Victoria developed Tackers - the AusKick of sailing. A fun, games based junior participation program to get kids on the water. With the tagline Kids and Boats = Fun, the Tackers program has achieved great success and has now been rolled out nationally. Investment could take it further.

At my yacht club we are fortunate enough to have a member who is a current Americas Cup sailor as well as numerous World and National champions. Over the last couple of seasons we have hosted some large national championships but, still like many other yacht clubs we ponder, think and struggle to keep youngsters in the sport. We have ideas, we have applied for funding as many yacht clubs have but so have the netball, soccer and footy clubs and that is hard to fight to win.

Imagine what an impact you could have on sailing using the funding set aside for the Americas Cup; fill the bays, lakes and waterways of Australia with sailors rather than jet skis.

Perhaps set up The Oatley Foundation to assist clubs develop their junior and youth programs and create a legacy for sailing that is long lasting; that directly touches lives of hundreds of thousands of Australians and affects their health and wellbeing.

The possibilities are endless and the benefits are enormous.

Glory is fleeting, a legacy is long lasting.

From a Laser sailing Mum of two Opti sailing daughters
Sail Port Stephens 2017 660x82BandG AUS Triton2 660x82Festival of Sails 2017 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Racing schedule and sights for fans in Bermuda
Those considering making the trip to Bermuda need to be aware of the race schedule and the different options. With the America's Cup due to get underway in five months time, those considering making the trip to Bermuda need to be aware of the race schedule and the different options. The travel blog extract and images outline some of the tourist attractions in Bermuda, that are available during the gaps in racing, or give an alternative if your team gets eliminated and you need grief therapy.
Posted today at 3:04 am
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA - Tech Tuesday - Structural Platform
Learn more about the carbon fiber structure of OTUSA's America's Cup class catamaran with Oracle Team USA. Learn more about the carbon fiber structure of OTUSA's America's Cup class catamaran. How does the fact that the boats are airborne for most of the race affect the hull design, structural engineering - structural engineer Kurt Jordan explains in this video.
Posted on 11 Jan
America's Cup - Ashby confirms that Kiwis will sail AC50 in Auckland
Glenn Ashby has confirmed that Emirates Team NZ will launch their AC50, in Auckland and will do a substantial build up Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Glenn Ashby has confirmed that Emirates Team New Zealand will launch their AC50, in Auckland and will do a substantial build up on the Waitemata harbour before shipping to Bermuda. Speaking on Newstalk ZB, Ashby said the Emirates Team New Zealand AC50 had been assembled and was having hydraulics, daggerboard systems and electronics being installed at present.
Posted on 8 Jan
America's Cup - Team NZ has a re-think on launch after Protocol change
As a result of the Protocol amendment, Emirates Team New Zealand, like all of the other teams, face a strategic decision Emirates Team New Zealand is back hard at work this week as 2017, the year of the 35th America’s Cup, kicks off at the frantic pace. As a result of the Protocol amendment, Emirates Team New Zealand, like all of the other teams, face a strategic decision of when to launch their America’s Cup Class race boat
Posted on 4 Jan
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ win 28 day sailing blackout- Updated
The Protocol for the 35th America's Cup has been modified to institute a 28 day blackout sailing period In an deal, apparently brokered by the anonymous Arbitration Panel, the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup has been modified to institute a 28 day blackout sailing period, beginning January 9, 2017. The move follows a Hearing by the as yet unnamed Arbitration Panel for the 35th America's Cup, over the removal of the sailing of the America's Cup Qualifiers from New Zealand.
Posted on 3 Jan
America’s Cup accelerating into 2017
The oldest trophy in int'l sport and a competition that will see six teams fighting it out on Bermuda’s Great Sound 2017 is the year of the 35th America’s Cup. The oldest trophy in international sport and a competition that will see six teams fighting it out on Bermuda’s Great Sound for the ultimate prize in sailing, and, arguably, the hardest trophy to win in sport.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA on the significance of a botched tack
Softbank Team Japan were the first of the America's Cup teams to perform a successful foiling tack in their AC45S. In this video from Oracle Team USA, the team traces the history of the foiling tack and claim that a missed foiling tack could be the difference between winning an America's Cup race - same as a missed foiling gybe had major repercussions in the 34th America's Cup sailed in AC72's.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
World Sailing - The World Sailing Show - December 2016
December 2016 edition of the World Sailing Show summarising the month in the world of sailing December 2016 edition of the World Sailing Show summarising the month in the world of sailing covering America's Cup, racing in the Southern Ocean and more. Plus, Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Sir Russell Coutts; our tribute to a spectacular year afloat along with news and views from around the world.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
America's Cup - Kiwis put some coaching spine into team
Over the past two weeks Emirates Team NZ has announced the signing of two members to join their non-sailing team Over the past two weeks Emirates Team New Zealand has announced the signing of two members to join their non-sailing team. The roles of each have not been clearly spelled out in media releases. Both have represented New Zealand at Olympic level and in that regard come from a common heritage with several members of the Emirates Team Team NZ sailing crew.
Posted on 24 Dec 2016
America's Cup - Rod Davis returns to sharpen Kiwi Match-racing skills
Long time Team New Zealand coach Rod Davis has rejoined Emirates Team New Zealand as Match Race Coach Long time Team New Zealand coach Rod Davis has rejoined Emirates Team New Zealand as Match Race Coach as the team transitions from testing to training in the coming months in preparation for America's Cup racing in Bermuda starting on May 27, 2017. Davis left Emirates Team New Zealand in August 2014, after ten years with the team, saying that it was time for a change.
Posted on 15 Dec 2016