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Empowering tomorrow's sailors: SailGP's Inspire program sets sail for Australian shores

by SailGP 3 Feb 15:39 PST 24-25 February 2024
Jason Waterhouse, flight controller and tactician of Australia SailGP Team, and Tash Bryant, strategist of Australia SailGP Team, explain the workings of the F50 catamaran to SailGP Inspire Careers candidates during a tour of the technical area © Ricardo Pinto for SailGP

SailGP's dedicated community, education and outreach initiative, Inspire makes its return ahead of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney, taking place on February 24-25.

As the world's best sailing athletes prepare for the eighth event of SailGP Season 4, 400 young people will be given the chance to take part in the SailGP Inspire program.

With its three pillars of Learning, Racing and Careers, SailGP Inspire is designed to expand opportunities in the sport for diversity and inclusion. By forging partnerships with local sailing clubs and organisations, the program strives to offer young individuals the ultimate educational experience. This initiative is a key component of the global league's Race for the Future, which is committed to creating a better sport and a better planet.

As part of this initiative, all 10 competing nations in the SailGP league will be involved in the Inspire Adopt-a-Club program, recognising that sailing organisations and clubs are the entry point for many young people to a world of on-water activities.

Pairings for the Adopt-a-Club program at the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney include:

  • Australia - Northbridge Sailing Club
  • New Zealand - Connells Point Sailing Club
  • Spain - Woollahra Sailing Club
  • Germany - Speers Point Amateur Sailing Club
  • Canada - Georges River Sailing Club
  • USA - Vincentia Sailing Club
  • France - Avalon Sailing Club
  • Switzerland - Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
  • ROCKWOOL Denmark - Port Hacking Open Sailing Club
  • Emirates Great Britain - Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Sailing Club.

Australia SailGP Team driver and CEO, Tom Slingsby said: "SailGP's Adopt-a-Club program is always met with resounding success since it was first introduced. We're excited to be partnering with Northbridge Sailing Club, to continue showcasing this incredible sport with Australian local communtiies and youths.

"As we approach our home event in Sydney, it's a great passion for me to be able to bring the sport I love to future budding athletes to help inspire and shape the future of sailing."

Alongside the Adopt-a-Club initiative, SailGP is also welcoming the return of its Inspire Learning, Racing and Careers Program in Sydney, which initially launched in February 2020.

Inspire Learning will see 200 local school aged youth take part in a behind-the-scenes tour of the SailGP Team bases, followed by an afternoon at the Australian National Maritime Museum, where they will have the opportunity to learn about the maritime history of Australia.

This time around, 33 young people will get the chance to rub shoulders with world-class athletes in Sydney through SailGP Inspire Careers and Racing programs. The once-in-a lifetime opportunity aims to increase diversity and accessibility to the sport and the wider sailing industry as well as providing genuine racing, careers and learning pathways for the next generation.

The SailGP Inspire program, in conjunction with WASZP, is used as a genuine talent identification pathway for young sailors to gain exposure on the world stage.

The 18 participants in the Inspire Racing x WASZP program were selected based on their application to the program. These include; Hanako Tomishima (Woollahra Sailing Club), Heidi Ferguson (Woollahra Sailing Club), Bridget Conrad (Gosford Sailing Club), Jessica Ellis (RSYS - Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron), Isabella Holdsworth (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC)), Tegan Franklin (Concord Ryde Sailing Club), Breanne Wadley (Tinaroo Sailing Club and Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron), Emily Henderson (Mannering Park Amateur Sailing Club), Caterina Meyer (Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron), Conall Green (Royal Geelong Yacht Club), Marshall Day (Belmont 16' Skiff Sailing Club), Will Troop (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club), Hugo Allison (Sandy Bay Sailing Club), Nicholas Dunne (Townsville Sailing Club), Louis Tilly (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club), Aidan Simmons (IHYC/SSCBC), Ben Crafoord (WSC) and Benedict McKay (Woollahra Sailing Club and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron).

The 15 Australia Careers Candidates include:

  • Maja Hansson-Mild, Shore Team Australia
  • Michael Parks, Shore Team New Zealand
  • Emma Rankin, Shore Team USA
  • Kai Hockley, Shore Team Emirates Great Britain
  • Anna Crispey, Shore Team France
  • Amelia Lewis, Shore Team Rockwool Denmark
  • Spencer Roche, Shore Team Germany
  • Emily Keg, Shore Team Switzerland
  • Matt Young, Shore Team Canada
  • Jacqueline Vanzella, Technical Team | Hydraulics
  • Andrea Davey, Technical Site & Dock Coordinator
  • Eliza Kirby, Videography
  • Daniel Links, Broadcast spotter
  • Nathan Byrne, Medical Team
  • Olivia Williams, Digital & Social

Australian Sailing National Event, Class and Youth Manager Emma Humphries said: "The impact SailGP has on our members each year is quite amazing. We are excited to be involved with the Inspire program again this year. Congratulations to the 10 clubs selected for the Adopt-a-Club Program, I hope they make the most of the experience and their youth members get to meet some incredible sailors and see some amazing technology".

The KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix I Sydney will take place on February 24-25, with thousands of Australian fans expected to descend on Sydney Harbour to witness the Australia Team compete against nine rival nations. The event is proudly supported by the NSW Government's lead agency for tourism and major events, Destination NSW.

For further information on the event and to purchase tickets visit SailGP.com/Sydney.

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