Following funding success from the BIM FLAG initiative (Bord Iascaigh Mhara Fisheries Local Area Group Development), Irish Sailing is rolling out a Team Racing Programme which aims to reduce the attrition of sailors between the ages of 16 – 30 (especially females) at clubs and training centres throughout the country writes Treasa Cox.
Team Racing is a fun and inexpensive way for clubs to retain young dinghy sailors after they have left the structured environs of class youth racing or the Irish Sailing Training Schemes. With a focus on rules knowledge, boat handling, tactics and teambuilding, the programme will further develop transferable skills and give rise to skilled and competitive racing in a very sociable environment.
The funding has been used to appoint a Team Racing contractor, Rory Martin, and purchase boats and equipment for a travelling roadshow. Rory will meet with clubs to gauge interest and check suitability whilst delivering initial educational and awareness-raising sessions at several locations around the country. Clubs and Training Centres with suitable team racing venues, sailors and volunteers can then choose a date for the roadshow to return and deliver on water coaching and clinics.
Clubs and Training Centres can use the programme to increase membership by using the resources and training offered by Irish Sailing as Rory suggests:
“We are looking forward to visiting clubs and training centres and showcasing team racing throughout the country. The programme, although introductory in nature, aims to encourage clubs and centres to take up the mantle, develop skills, attract participation, encourage volunteers and work to increase membership for underrepresented groups in the sport. We will help as best we can by providing resources, suggesting funding and delivering fun and informative training.”
There are many benefits to team racing as Rory continues:
“Following on from the roadshow Clubs and centres could offer team racing as part of their summer courses or to extend the sailing season into the winter months. Team Racing is already a prominent activity in most Universities, and clubs can utilise the sport to attract student members. Team Racing also leads to upskilling of participants through in-depth rules knowledge which can allow clubs to build on their stock of race officials and training of umpires.”
It is envisaged that many clubs may have fleets of their own boats which could be used for Team Racing. Whilst Fireflies are synonymous with team racing, anything from Optimists to J24s are suitable to get the programme started in your club. For clubs already competent at Team Racing, Irish Sailing can tailor a bespoke programme to your requirements with a team of coaches available to assist.
To register your club’s interest in the roadshow, please contact Rory for more information [email protected]