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SailGP Inspire and Plymouth City Council establish legacy through youth sailing programs

by SailGP 3 Aug 17:27 BST
An aerial view of Great Britain SailGP Team New Zealand SailGP Team in action on Race Day 2 during Great Britain SailGP, Event 3, Season 2 in Plymouth, Great Britain 18 July . © Thomas Lovelock/SailGP

Following the success of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix, SailGP's Inspire program and Plymouth City Council have banded together to continue supporting local youth sailing initiatives in Britain's Ocean City, through generous donations and support from the global league's partners.

Inspire - the global league's community engagement program - has been designed to break boundaries, allowing for sailing to be a more inclusive sport with increased access to a wider range of young people from diverse backgrounds. Transforming lives within each SailGP host city, Inspire aims to educate the youth about the sport and sustainability while actively engaging them through hands-on experiences leading up to, during, and long after the event has taken place.

SailGP CEO Russell Coutts said: "Our youth are the future of sailing. Building sustainable foundations through meaningful partnerships such as what we're developing in Plymouth, as the league continues to expand, is fundamentally important. We're excited about what our Inspire programs - Learning, Careers, Racing - are cultivating. Each event across the globe uncovers new talent and brilliant young minds, furthering our approach to racing for a better future."

Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Nick Kelly said: "It was incredibly important to us that SailGP had a wider, long-lasting impact on the community right here in Plymouth. We were proud to work closely with SailGP and our key city partners to deliver such a fantastic program of activity, which has enabled more people to get out on the water, to try sailing, learn new skills and embrace all that is brilliant about Britain's Ocean City. This included our own 'STEM GP' event which gave hundreds of school children the chance to enjoy an exciting day of STEM activities, all with the theme of 'Powered by Nature' to align with SailGP, which showcased the future career opportunities available to them.

"The Inspire program has had a hugely positive impact on the young people of Plymouth and on our sailing community and I'm sure that the benefits of this will be felt for a long time to come."

Operating out of the Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre, and in conjunction with Horizons Plymouth Children's Sailing Charity and Plymouth Youth Sailing; the funding of 20,000 pounds enables approximately 480 experiences to young people from Plymouth, which will include RYA Sailing courses, and access to club memberships to allow the next stars to continue to improve their skills afloat. The legacy program is designed to attract a new wave of sailors in the sport and make use of Plymouth Sound as an incredible natural resource, ideal for developing the sport of Sailing.

Mount Batten Centre watersports and activities manager Sam Waites said: "The team at the Mount Batten Centre is thrilled to be delivering an action-packed program of legacy activities which builds upon the inspiring spectacle that was the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix. We'll be working with existing and new community partners Plymouth-wide delivering programs of accredited Royal Yachting Association courses - Stage 1 & 2 for youth, and additional levels for older groups - which may even inspire the next Sir Ben Ainslie or Paul Goodison! Partnering with SailGP gives a unique opportunity to inspire, motivate and sustain youth engagement in Sailing and we are delighted to be a key project partner for this!"

In addition to those young people looking to experience sailing for the first time, the legacy projects will also support those more experienced youth sailors. To help more young people experience foiling for the first time, a WASZP dinghy has been donated to the Horizons program that aligns with their recently accredited RYA Foiling Instructors.

Horizons Chief Executive Simon Mace said: "Thanks to SailGP and WASZP we have a fantastic opportunity to use the legacy boat to give young people from our local area the opportunity to learn to foil.

"Horizons will be working closely with the RYA Southwest in the coming months to identify local youngsters who are at the appropriate point in their sailing journey to give foiling a go. In the long term it would be great to see some of these young people competing at the next UK based SailGP Inspire event."

Plymouth Youth Sailing has also been an integral part of the SailGP experience in Plymouth. Creating accessible sailing programs ensures more youth in the region are involved in healthy, developmental activities that go beyond the athleticism of the sport. By supplying a select number of club memberships, any barrier-to-entry for young people interested in the sport, who would usually find it hard to access otherwise, is then removed.

SailGP's Inspire program continues to make its mark at each venue throughout Season 2, leaving a legacy that each of the nine cities on the championship calendar can be proud of; in some cases reviving sailing traditions, and in many others helping to expand the boat classes available so future sailors can grow with the sport.

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