The loss of young sailors to the sport is an issue that has been identified by many clubs around the country and at national level.
Other sports can be more attractive to younger age groups, particularly it seems as teenagers enter the early 20s and there are increasingly more all-year-round possibilities for young people, male and female - and without the rigours of an uneven playing field, as the water is described, compared to land-based sports.
This was discussed at a ‘think-in’ at the Royal Cork in Crosshaven late last year when the cruiser racing section reviewed the past season.
Now the club has announced the setting-up of an Under 25s Keelboat Academy.
The intention is to try to get more young people interested in cruiser racing from the age of 16 years onwards and it’s an attractive alternative to losing them from the sport altogether
An invitation has been sent out through the club’s system to those between the ages of 16 and 25 to join the Keelboat Academy….. the age limits are 16 by the age of May 1 this year and not over 25 by the same date.
The club's 1720s boats will be used for training, learning boat maintenance and tuning keelboats and there will also be opportunities to go to events around the country representing the Club on other boats such as J24s and J80s.
The RCYC is entering a team for the Irish Cruiser Racing Association Nationals in Galway from August 15 to 18 to race against six other U25 teams from clubs around the country and the Crosshaven establishment says it will also be looking at putting teams in for some match racing events at the Wave Regatta in Howth Yacht Club in Dublin, at Volvo Cork Week, in the Youth Regatta and the 1720 National and European Championships.
Within a short time of announcing the Academy, fourteen younger sailors had signed up. It’s a good initiative. RCYC Keelboats Rear Admiral, Kieran O’Connell, who is also Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, says the plan is to get the Academy “up and running as soon as possible.”
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