by Craig Heydon
Yachting Australia is encouraging youngsters to discover and eventually fall in love with the sport of sailing by promoting its youth sailing program, Tackers. The youth program aims to provide kids aged 7-12 their first taste of sailing as they take their one major step towards becoming champion sailors.
Making lifetime friendships at Yachting Australia’s youth program Tackers
Research shows that people who enjoy sailing throughout their life are likely to have begun whilst they were young, and the recent success sailing enjoyed at the London 2012 Olympics has brought about many new young aspiring sailors.
Tackers is Yachting Australia’s junior sailing program. Targeted at kids aged between 7 -12, it’s presented as a fun games-based program delivered at accredited Tackers clubs, where kids can get wet, learn how to sail, make new friends and become water safe.
Ross Kilborn, Yachting Australia’s Sport Development Director said that Tackers provides a safe environment for kids to get their first taste of sailing.
'The great thing about Tackers is that the club provides the equipment such as the safety gear and boats and parents don’t have to be members in order for their kids to participate,' said Kilborn. 'The only thing kids have to be ready for is a great day out on the water, learning how to sail, having fun and making new friends, all under the guidance of qualified Yachting Australia Instructors.'
There are three levels to the Tackers Program that kids can progress through:
Tackers 1 – kids sail in pairs in small boats. It’s a great way to meet new friends and kids have the chance to sail with others in their group.
Tackers 2 – Tricks & Techniques If kids are confident, they can sail a boat on their own with lots of support, supervision and encouragement.
Tackers 3 – Sailing Fast! This is a chance for the kids to sail boats on their own, learning how to make the boat go faster and playing more games.
Each level involves 20 hours of participation and participants receive a Tackers kit at the start of every Level and a certificate of achievement at the end
'One of the main benefits of Tackers for clubs is that juniors come with families. As Tackers targets people who have never been involved in sailing before it can deliver both an immediate increase in involvement at a club, and a future generation of sailors' Kilborn added.
Tackers was piloted in Victoria and is now available in seven States. Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron recently ran their first Tackers program, after launching Tackers with a donation of 15 OziOpti boats from Whitworths.
Yachting Queensland’s Denis Cook said, 'We are extremely grateful to Whitworths for their commitment to offering Yachting Queensland 75 boats over five years, to further develop and grow Tackers in Queensland. Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s recent adoption of Tackers led them to being the first recipients of these boats.'
The launch was attended by London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists Malcolm Page and Mathew Belcher, who said, 'Malcolm and I both started sailing at a young age, and it’s been an unbelievable journey from those early days up to winning gold at London 2012. Tackers offers a great way for kids to get into the water and enjoy the safe, fun and adventurous world of sailing. We encourage everyone to give it a go'.
'Tackers is a professionally presented and branded program that has credibility with sponsors and
benefactors. It offers attraction of families who are not otherwise into sailing with parents often enrolling in learn to sail programs themselves and becoming club members. We are very pleased to see how clubs have positively benefited from Tackers,' said Ross Kilborn.
For further information on Tackers visit Discover Sailing Tackers