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SailGP inspiring Sydney's next generation

by SailGP 10 Feb 22:40 PST
SailGP Inspire Learning program for children aged 9-13, hosted by Point Wolstoncroft Sport & Recreation Centre, NSW, Australia © Beau Outteridge for SailGP

As the world's top sailors prepare for the first event of SailGP Season 2, 60 young people will get the chance to rub shoulders with world-class athletes in Sydney through SailGP Inspire. The global championship's youth and community outreach arm launches its season-long program and will showcase the future of the sport at the season opener.

The organization is committed to providing a variety of life-changing experiences through Inspire's three pathways - Racing, Careers and Learning - throughout the season, beginning in Australia's most iconic city. The action culminates with 32 up-and-coming sailors from around the region facing off in a sailing competition - in RS Cat 14s and WASZPs - on the same Sydney Harbour course where SailGP's seven national teams will race their supercharged F50 catamarans - the fastest sail race boats in the world.

With aims to reach a diverse and wide-ranging group across the world, SailGP Inspire developed each pathway with specific goals and collaborated with partners RS Sailing, WASZP, Rooster, MarkSetBot and World Sailing Trust to create a unique program with unmatched ambition.

SailGP Youth Program Manager Tom Herbert-Evans said: "Whether they're aspiring to one day join the league on a national team, want to learn the science behind the sport of sailing or get behind-the-scenes work experience, young people around the world gain access to unique opportunities through SailGP Inspire. We're excited to bring Inspire to Sydney for the first time, with a variety of new components, in what is shaping up to a historic second season."

Sydney SailGP marks the first time the Inspire Racing x WASZP program will be activated, as 16 sailors under the age of 20 (eight girls and eight boys) from three nations take to the water on a fleet of foiling WASZPs in a qualification series from February 25-27. The following day, in conjunction with the global championship's first event of 2020, the top-eight sailors face off on the F50 course in front of thousands of spectators utilizing leading technology provide by MarkSetBot.

The 10 competitors from Australia - representing areas in New South Wales, Hobart and Western Australia - were selected by the Inspire Racing Committee following an online application process. Candidates were chosen based on ability and ambition among other key traits. The young athletes from New Zealand and Japan won domestic competitions to earn their spots, with Anna Yamazaki receiving a nomination from the Japan SailGP Team.

The 16 participants in the inaugural Inspire Racing x WASZP program include:

  • Australia: Rita Booth (Whale Beach), Ruben Booth (Whale Beach), Natasha Bryant (Newport), Alice Buchanan (Hobart), Will Cooley (Sydney), Archie Cropley (Northbridge), Miles Davey (Baulkham Hills), Evie Haseldine (North Richmond), Ryan Littlechild (Sydney) and Georgia Payne (Mandurah)
  • New Zealand: Amelie Back (Auckland), Stella Bilger (Auckland), Sean Herbert (Auckland) and Sam Street (New Plymouth)
  • Japan: Teruaki Shimakura (Kyoto) and Anna Yamazaki (Yokohama)

Buchanan said: "I am very excited to have been selected to take part in the SailGP Inspire Racing program. It will be an eye-opening experience both on and off the water, where I will be able to learn from some of the best sailors in the world. I look forward to the challenge of racing the WASZPs as it will give me an insight into foiling. I have just finished out the 29er class and I feel that Inspire Racing will help me take the next step in my sailing career."

Sydney SailGP marks the return of Inspire Racing x RS Cat14 after the program had a presence at the last two events of Season 1 in Cowes and Marseille. Working in coordination with local yacht clubs, Inspire selected teams of two (one boy and one girl under the age of 15) that will take to the water on February 27, getting the chance to meet the SailGP teams and receive behind-the-scenes access. RS Sailing is the program's primary partner and supplied the RS Cat14s that the athletes will sail, while Rooster is supplying the sailing apparel.

The 16 participants of the Inspire Racing x RS Cat14 program include:

  • Cruising Yacht Club of Australia: Ava Smith and Henry Myers
  • Hunter's Hill Sailing Club: Stella Hurley and Tom Quinlan
  • Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Sailing Club: Mackenzie Mayne and Jack Rusticcia
  • Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club: Pearl Twomey and Tyler Dransfield
  • Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club: Sara Bruce and Cooper Bellingham
  • Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron: Harriet McLauchlan and Bennedict McKay
  • Woollahra Sailing Club: Hanako Tomishima and Austin Cross
  • Middle Harbor Yacht Club: Ella Delaney and Ben Crafoord

Finally, the Inspire Careers program will give 16 students between the ages of 18 to 23 the opportunity to work across several areas of the SailGP organization, including the technical team, hospitality and event management, on-water operations, media and communications, race management, and sustainability. The program starts in the week leading up to the event and provides students with a hands-on experience and inside look at what it takes to execute a global sporting spectacle.

The third pathway of SailGP Inspire - Learning - took place in the lead-up to Sydney SailGP in partnership with the New South Wales government to offer 21 children from surrounding areas the opportunity to learn how to sail during a four-day camp on Lake Macquarie in January. The event culminated in a surprise sailing lesson from Australia SailGP Team athlete and Lake Macquarie local Kyle Langford.

The global championship returns to Sydney Harbour on February 28-29. Tickets are available at SailGP.com/Sydney. For further information on SailGP Inspire and to sign-up to future programs, visit SailGP.com/Inspire.

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