Please select your home edition
Edition
Insun - AC Program

Australian Sailing team to turn Gold into grass roots participation

by Jeni Bone on 20 Aug 2012
Tom Slingsby victorious - August 6, 2012 - Weymouth, England Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
Just back in the country from a triumphant performance at Weymouth during the 2012 London Olympic Games, some of the Australian Sailing team is already on the promotional trail.

Tom Slingsby, Mathew Belcher, Malcolm Page and Iain Jensen are making waves at Audi Hamilton Island Race week, celebrating, showing their medals and practicing the 'Key Messages' that will be crucial to converting gold to grassroots take up of the sport.



'They did exceptionally well,' concurs Yachting Australia CEO, Phil Jones, referring to Australia’s most successful sailing team ever, bringing home three Gold medals and one Silver. 'Now we have our eyes on Rio and taking it to the next level.'

Before Rio in 2016, Yachting Australia has a strategy to drive interest and participation in sailing, at every level.

'We have programs in place for people who just want to try it at entry level, right up to racing around the world. Now, it’s up to us, and most importantly, at Club level, to show people sailing is fun, accessible and easy to get into.'
According to Jones, Clubs’ involvement in their communities will be the way to 'promote membership and bring people in to the sport'.

'After all, there’s only so much organisations like ours can do. Strategies and initiatives like ‘Discover Sailing’ and our Tackers program have to be implemented at the grass roots level,' says Jones referring to the YA initiatives which seek to demystify sailing and give people of all ages and skill levels hands-on experiences.



'We will be using our athletes to promote these initiatives, as well as the key messages,' asserts Jones.
Those messages include: sailing is a sport for anybody, young or old; it’s in our blood – sailing is part of our past and a vibrant part of our culture; it’s accessible and easy to get involved in.

'It’s great for kids. But people of all ages can sail. What other sport can you take up at 35 or 40 years old and rise to Olympic level after a few years?' asks Jones, referring of course to some of our celebrated sailors nudging 40 and over.

There are also plenty of seasoned salts racing competitively in regattas around the world, the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Rolex Sydney to Hobart.

Creative Director at March One, Ben Coverdale believes it’s a 'no-brainer' that sailing will enjoy invigorated participation – people returning to the sport and young kids expressing interest in joining local Clubs.

'Australians follow sporting success,' he observes. 'In the same way that some kids choose to bowl spin like Shane Warne, this year, there will be a spike in kids wanting to sail like Malcolm Page, Mathew Belcher, Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty.

'I also think the types of boats sailed were perfect for growing the sport. They were small boats. Boats which look affordable, safe and fun. Boats that parents might imagine buying for kids.'
As for the appeal of our Olympians, Jones is adamant they have what it takes to capture the imaginations of the media and public.

'Tom Slingsby’s gold attracted some of the sports journalists who may not normally attend sailing. They came down to Weymouth and ended up loving everything about the competition, the atmosphere, the boats, and Tom. Tom winning in a Laser showed people another side of sailing, compared to just seeing the Sydney to Hobart yachts and thinking that’s competitive sailing.'

As well as talent, personality is on tap in this Olympic team, says Jones. 'We are blessed with this batch of athletes that they are smart, charismatic and capable of taking our messages to the public.'


State organisations, Clubs, sponsors, events, websites and social media will harnessed to get the images and messages of Australian sailors to the public. Interestingly, key to the approach to competition at Weymouth was a focus on 'keeping the noise down'.

The sailing team had a self-imposed ban on Facebook and Twitter, says Jones. Reading and being swept up in the hype can have a negative effect on psychology and hence, affect performance.

Now they’re back and determined to make some noise.

More at www.yachting.org.au

Mackay BoatsZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82C-Tech Emirates TNZ

Related Articles

An interview with Patrick Kennedy about the Ida Lewis Distance Race
I interviewed Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution. With this year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race set to unfurl the weekend of August 18-20, I caught up with Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the event’s new partnership with the 2017 J/Fest New England.
Posted on 14 Aug
An interview with Marianne Davis about the CORK International Regatta
I interviewed Marianne Davis, co-chair of the CORK International Regatta, to learn about the regatta’s state of affairs. While the various CORK regattas' registration lists include international sailors, these events are some of the gemstones in Sail Canada’s yearly championship calendar, making them of extra importance to Canadian sailors. I recently caught up with Marianne Davis, co-chair of the 2017 event, via email, to learn more about the CORK International Regatta’s evolution and its current state of affairs.
Posted on 7 Aug
A Q&A with the RORC’s Nick Elliott about the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race
I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email, to learn more about the world-famous Rolex Fastnet Race. When one stops to consider the world’s best ocean races, the Royal Offshore Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, August 6, 2017, is never far from mind. I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the amount of work that goes into pulling off this world-famous regatta.
Posted on 1 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun