In an effort to #backthebid in World Sailing’s reinstatement campaign for the Olympics, there is lots of activity taking place around the world. We sat down with Joff McGill, Sailability Manager, to find out what the Royal Yachting Association in the UK is doing to support our sport. Joff says,
“There is a well-established racing scene for disabled people with events and training at a local, regional and national level delivered by clubs, classes and occasionally ourselves. There are also a good range of international events that the best para sailors in the UK travel to.
Most sailors on the parasailing scene weren’t young people. We wanted to do something about it. We know of sailors going to their local Sailability group and having a great time, but some are ready to try something new, to develop their racing skills.
When we first heard about the U25 Para World Championship taking place, we thought it was a perfect opportunity to create a programme for these young people.
We put together a programme of 4-weekend development camps using RS Venture Connects provided by The Andrew Simpson Foundation in Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, where facilities are accessible. We invited young people who wanted to develop their sailing performance from around the country and promoted the opportunity as best we could.
Six young sailors took part and all are asking for more. For some attention has switched to the RS Venture Connect World Championships – but it is about a range of opportunities, not just specific events. For example, one of the participants has just secured a week’s work experience with the Sail GP team.
We will definitely repeat it and develop what we and others can offer.
But it’s not just young people that we want to be support; at the end of July, we are running a weekend for women para sailors.”