Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

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

Barz Optics - FloatersProtector - 660 x 82Ancasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
A Q&A with Nicole Breault about women’s match racing in the USA
I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about women’s match racing in the USA and about her upcoming Clinegatta. I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about the state of women’s match racing in the USA, and to also hear more about her upcoming Clinegatta, which is set to unfurl on the waters of San Francisco Bay this July, and which could be a great resource for other talented female match racers who are looking to sharpen their skills.
Posted on 17 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr
A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
A Q&A with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race
I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba. The 2017 Miami to Havana Race is set to begin on March 15 and promises high adventure-both sailing-related and cultural-for the sailors lucky enough to be participating in this historical-and for now legal-race. I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race and SORC race chairman, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba.
Posted on 13 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar