Please select your home edition

From Pirates to World Champions - Parents are Key

by Hamish Stuart 13 Oct 2019 12:48 BST
Jac Bailey wins the RS Tera Sport World Challenge Trophy © WYA

Getting parents involved in sailing was the starting point for a journey which started as club recreation and ended with a world champion. RYA Cymru Wales is supporting the NSPCC Parents in Sport Week by celebrating and showcasing the work that parents do in the boating community.

Jac Bailey, aged 11, went from junior club events known as 'Pirates' at Port Dinorwic Sailing Club in Gwynedd, to lifting the RS Tera Sport World Challenge Trophy in Sweden this year.

For Mum Jo Powell, who set up the Pirates and also saw daughter Ffion claim 11th spot in the Pro Fleet, the key was getting parents involved in the sport before their children started sailing - an important message in Parents in Sport Week.

The plan paid off with seven North Wales sailors competing in Sweden. "Besides Jac's determination to sail fast, I think it takes a club to raise a champion," said Powell, a watersports instructor at The Conway Centre.

"That success comes back to a decision made 10 years ago to change the emphasis to put the parents at the centre of a new junior set-up called the Pirates."

Parents providing a safe environment has certainly been central at Port Dinorwic. "We had a challenge at the club retaining children over the age of 11 so we thought about how to teach sailing in a different way," said Powell.

"We saw that sailors who had parents who could sail were at a massive advantage when it came to being brought to the club and anything to do with racing.

"We started getting parents to learn when their children were two or three years old so they would be experienced by the time the child was ready to learn, and the club would be somewhere they were used to being at."

It was a process that led to six members of Port Dinorwic competing in Sweden, seven from North Wales, making the Welsh contingent one of the largest at the event.

While there were plenty of strong performances in the RS Tera class of boat, Jac coming through to win the title in the younger Sport Fleet was certainly the one to catch the eye.

"Jac went into the last day in second place. That helped because he just thought of ways of how he could win. He ended up sailing his main rival down the field in the last race, he had worked out what he needed to do to take first place.

"Now we are crowdfunding for him to go to the Worlds in South Africa to defend his title next April. There are three from Port Dinorwic going, including Ffion, and there could be one from Pembrokeshire - so four from Wales."

The NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) has launched the Sports Parents Promise as part of its annual awareness raising campaign, Parents in Sport Week, 7-13 October 2019.

The Promise outlines all the ways in which parents can be the best sports parents they can be, by ensuring their child has safe and enjoyable experiences of sport.

Parents can make the Promise online and, in return, they'll be directed to vital information about how to keep their child safe in sport at

Show your child you support them taking part in sport by making the Promise and spread the word using the hashtag #SportsParents

For anyone interested in helping the sailors compete at next year's RS Tera World challenge in South Africa see

Related Articles

Sian Reynolds appointed Chair of RYA Cymru Wales
Making history as the first female and youngest in the role The Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales (RYA CW) has today announced the appointment of Sian Reynolds as Chair of its Board. Sian's appointment makes history as she is the first female Chair and also the youngest Chair of RYA CW's Board. Posted on 24 Oct 2022
Calling Boating Coaches and Instructors
Encouraged to help COVID-19 efforts by RYA Cymru Wales RYA Cymru Wales is encouraging sailing coaches and instructors to help out in their communities during the current COVID-19 crisis. Posted on 23 Mar 2020
RYA Cymru Wales closely reviews COVID-19 virus
The Youth Nationals are still scheduled to be going ahead As things stand, we have received no recommendation for postponing or cancelling upcoming championships, but we will continue to monitor and follow advice from relevant government agencies including Public Health Wales. Posted on 13 Mar 2020
Huw wins RYA Musto Regional Youth Award for Wales
Huw Farmer, Welsh Number One and now a UK award winner The 15-year-old's success on the water and massive contribution off it at his club Llangorse, mean he was presented the RYA Musto Regional Youth Award for Wales at the RYA Dinghy Show. Posted on 7 Mar 2020
Welsh clubs urged to bid for Magenta Day
Boost female sailing with International Women's Day on Sunday Welsh sailing clubs can still apply to run a Magenta Day to boost female sailing, with International Women's Day on Sunday as a useful reminder to register interest. Posted on 6 Mar 2020
Sarah McGovern appointed Performance Manager
Paul Simes retires from RYA Cymru Wales Sarah McGovern is set to become the RYA Cymru Wales Performance Manager from April leading the performance and pathway programmes for boating in Wales, as the current Performance Manager Paul Simes is retiring. Posted on 28 Feb 2020
Race officers take Frostbite Challenge
Jointly run by Neyland Yacht Club and Pembrokeshire Yacht Club West Wales sailors should benefit this summer from a successful Club Race Team Management course run for 11 volunteers. Posted on 27 Feb 2020
North Wales public asked to vote
Police money could fund project from charity All-Afloat in Rhyl The North Wales public can vote to boost boating charity All Afloat in getting more disadvantaged children and young people on the water in Rhyl. Posted on 23 Jan 2020
Volunteering with the All Afloat project
North Wales parent helps children and minority groups to access sailing A parent of disabled children has started volunteering to help others after getting involved with the All Afloat project on Marine Lake in North Wales. Posted on 18 Dec 2019
Royal Anglesey shortlisted for UK club of the year
The only Welsh club among 10 finalists Members at The Royal Anglesey Yacht Club are celebrating becoming the only Welsh club among 10 finalists shortlisted for the UK boating club of the year. Posted on 12 Dec 2019