by Di Pearson
Approximately 80 clubs around Australia will take to the water this Sunday, October 27, for Australia’s first ever national ‘Discover Sailing Day’ - and all newcomers are welcome to take part in this fun and free event.
Mothers relax at a club while their children are on the water
The purpose of the Discover Sailing Day is to introduce Australians to the joys of sailing and show it is affordable and accessible, and clubs are enthusiastically waiting to welcome all participants, young and old.
'While states and clubs can host as many Discover Sailing Days as they would like and can manage throughout the sailing season, this single national day aims to raise the profile of sailing and clubs to the community and media,' Yachting Australia’s Participation Manager, Daisy Brooke, said.
'Clubs have co-opted their members’ help in getting the message out, including inviting family and friends and asking them to pass the message on. They’re also helping their clubs host visitors, and each club is looking forward to welcoming anyone who sees this open invitation,' she said.
This national Discover Sailing Day is a component of the Discover Sailing Program, designed to attract everyday people to sailing and to sailing clubs, providing newcomers a first taste of sailing and introducing them to the thrill of being on the water. It will also introduce participants to the relaxed social nature of sailing clubs, ensuring their return and progression on the sailing pathway.
Funded by the Australian Sports Commission, the Discover Sailing Program was built based on insights into sailing and clubs provided by the gemba Research Report in 2011-12. It embraces all the entry activities a club offers.
Clubs are very family friendly
Malcolm Page’s family, including two older brothers, had no background in sailing and were baffled when his older brother came home asking for a Flying 11. The three got their start in Manly Juniors (a class where many young sailors cut their teeth) at Hunters Hill Sailing Club, one of the clubs participating in Discover Sailing Day. Page was eight years old.
While his brothers continued to sail at Club level, Page, a self-confessed 'sportoholic,' pursued his Olympic dream and is the only Australian to have won two sailing gold medals; at the 2008 and 2012 Games. He now sails 18 foot skiffs on Sundays.
Now 41, Page was attracted to sailing 'because I had always played team sport before and found sailing offered more - freedom - and I had control of what I was doing. I really embraced it. I also felt supported by the sailing community around me. I encourage people to at least try it; it’s so much fun.'
David Edwards, General Manager of Yachting NSW, has led the very successful NSW BIA Try Sailing Day for the last few years. He says: 'We’ve seen the success of these days in the past in raising the profile of sailing and boating and attracting people to clubs.'
'We’re very pleased to be working with the BIA NSW in providing media coverage for this inaugural national Discover Sailing Day,' he added.
Complementing this media support, participating clubs have accessed a range of support materials from their State Associations, including signage, promotional posters, guidelines on running the day and the role of their hosts, along with video case studies.
On the official Discover Sailing Day website those interested can source and register with their preferred club and find useful information about what to expect on the day. There is also useful information on how to progress their interest in sailing.
Discover Sailing has been developed for use by clubs and their members. The research was clear; the most likely sources of new sailors are friends or family of existing sailors, or people living in the vicinity of the club.
It’s not too late to sign on, so come along this Sunday. To ‘discover’ participating clubs and to register for the ‘Discover Sailing Day nearest you, go to: Discover Sailing website
For club officials and members wanting more information, go to: Yatching website or contact your State Association.