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World Sailing Trust partners with SailGP Inspire

The World Sailing Trust has joined forces with SailGP Inspire to become the official charity of SailGP’s community and outreach program.

Unfortunately, this once again shows that World Sailing, which established the World Sailing Trust in 2018, is only focussed on sailboat racing. It has been proven time and again that the future of sailing is dependent on promoting sailing overall – and that includes just messing about in boats. Sailboat racing is fun and should, by all means, be encouraged. However, as is the case here, racing should and must not be the sole or even the primary focus of the promotion of sailing.

Sailing is a Pursuit, not a Sport

Sailing. It’s not just a sport. It’s not just a leisure activity. Sailing is all of the above. And each of those pursuits of different aspects of sailing makes it the most challenging to master. In each case, the skills you need are very different from the skills needed in a different aspect. In each case, the vocabulary even changes to describe the metamorphosis of the boat and its crew under different goals and circumstances. Because it is so varied, sailing is undergoing an identity crisis. But instead of embracing the evolution of the harnessing of wind, man and yacht club is fighting the demise of sailing as we know it.  For God’s sake, they are still worried about where to fly the burgee when you have sailboats rearing their bottoms on foils moving at breakneck speeds. The word ‘irrelevant’ comes to mind.

Organizations big and small are grappling with the declining numbers in people taking up the “sport” of sailing.  But what they aren’t doing is listening to the people who are evolving the sport.  They aren’t listening to the kids who drop out of the prescribed sailing programme. Ask them what they think, why they are dropping out?  We did. What we heard made sense.

“I hate sailing alone. It’s boring and scary.” (Opti sailor)
“I hate being yelled at.” (Sailing instructor barking orders from a crash boat.)
“I want to sail to someplace, not just around the marks.”

Or, as spoken by Ratty to Mole in Wind in the Willows a children's book by Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932):

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."

For more on this see:

The otherwise upbeat press release from World Sailing follows:

The partnership will use sailing as a force for good, bringing access to the sport, education and sector career experience to a wide audience through SailGP and the World Sailing Trust’s international reach.

The partnership creates the opportunity to increase participation outside of SailGP’s championship calendar – featuring the world’s fastest sail racing – to take the Inspire program to new locations and broaden its reach.

The World Sailing Trust will support SailGP Inspire to raise funds for its outreach program as part of the Trust’s Youth Pathways work, which helps young people gain access to sailing and develop their skills. Together, the World Sailing Trust and SailGP Inspire will work with local partners to identify areas of opportunity, tailoring outreach work to local communities.

“We are really excited to partner with SailGP Inspire, the first project within the Trust’s Youth Pathways program,” said World Sailing Trust Chair Dee Caffari MBE.

“SailGP Inspire aligns with the Trust’s mission to grow participation in sailing, support young sailors to develop their skills and to enhance sailing as a sport.

“We’re looking forward to working with SailGP to achieve brilliant impact through outreach activities across the world and will work in partnership to develop the Inspire program to benefit as many young people as possible.”

With the support of the World Sailing Trust, SailGP’s legacy offering at each host venue will be developed and enhanced, with SailGP Inspire supporting core community programs across the world.

SailGP revolutionises sailing through technology, and Inspire brings this exciting feature to young sailors through interactive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) classroom modules and online resources, eSailGP gamification, and on-water sailing experiences.

A greater understanding of the science behind sailing will equip young girls and boys with key knowledge to access the sport and sail safely, as well as learn fundamental life skills while being encouraged to get on the water.

“As a global sports organisation, we have a social responsibility to improve access and drive passion at the grassroots,” said SailGP Youth Program Manager Tom Herbert-Evans.

“We do not want to reinvent the wheel but create accessible aids to enhance existing organisations that are already doing incredible work on the front line.”

SailGP Inspire’s founding partners RS Sailing, WASZP, Rooster and MarkSetBot will provide resources to program sites to further the outreach of the initiatives and help build a legacy in each of the communities visited.

“As an annual, global championship featuring cutting-edge technology and awe-inspiring athleticism, we have the tools to ignite and inspire the next generation,” said SailGP Chief Operating Officer Julien di Biase.

“However, it is critical that between and after each SailGP event we continue to engage and inspire the future generation.

“With the support of the World Sailing Trust we will not only be able to achieve this, but also reach young people in locations outside of our current event calendar which will help to further the impact of the program.”


Attention Sailing Organizations & PR Agencies:
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