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Australia's America's Cup campaign establishes Women and Youth Pathway Program with ASF

by Team Australia Challenge 14 Feb 06:05 GMT
AC40 Simulator Training with the team © Nic Douglass Sailor Girl

The Team Australia Challenge campaign for the 2024 Puig Women's and Youth America's Cup has established an education and training Pathway Program to mentor the next generation of emerging, pathway and elite sailors through a charitable status with the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) announced today.

Campaign Patron John Bertrand AO, said the opportunity generated by the new America's Cup campaign and the exceptional technology innovation with the AC40 yacht, named world boat of the year in 2023, provided an enormous chance to attract and retain talented sailors.

Having entered a partnership last year with Australian Sailing to enhance skills development within the current America's Cup squad, Bertrand said the additional support of the ASF to recognise the Education and Training Pathway Program would attract wider support.

"The aim is to utilise the programs developed for the 2024 Women and Youth America's Cup campaign to deliver a series of modules that will teach valuable life skills to sailors and non-sailors alike. This will be a sustainable legacy well beyond the 2024 regatta," he said.

The ASF commitment to the program enables donors and charitable foundations to provide tax deductible support for the legacy Pathway Program.

Bertrand said particularly women's sailing careers had in the past been truncated by the lack of opportunity to continue elite level and professional sailing but new technologies and wider recognition and access was rapidly changing those dynamics in sailing around the world.

"Australia has many of the best sailors on teams around the world so we feel truly obliged to embark on this all-encompassing pathway program and hope we will see many supporters join us to help sailors realise their dreams," he said.

Training camps, on water and utilising the AC40 simulator based in Sydney, plus conferences for both youth and female sailors will be rolled out this year and beyond the forthcoming America's Cup competition in September and October.

Founding Team Australia Challenge squad member and Olympic silver medallist Olivia Price said the Pathway Program was a long-held dream of hers as she has moved into a mentoring role herself on her path to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and the 2024 America's Cup - something not afforded to her in her early career.

"There have always been amazing female sailors in our orbit but they have had to truly fight for their place in the sport and there was just not any professional career opportunities made available in my youth, but that is changing fast and Australia can be at the forefront so it is truly an exciting time now for women in sailing," she said.

"The Team Australia Challenge mentoring and pathway program for sailors is about breaking down old, entrenched models and patterns that saw our best sailors competing instead of supporting one another," she added.

The Program will be conducting public speaking engagements to encourage those wanting to continue their sailing journey more seriously and encouraging female and young prospective sailors to take up sailing.

The Pathway Program aims to offer scholarships, training and mentorship with education models including leadership, adaptability, care for the environment, cognitive skills, intuition, problem-solving, teamwork and risk management.

ASF's Chief Partnerships Officer Ryan Holloway said "the Australian Sports Foundation was originally established in the wake of the Australia II win in the 1983 America's Cup as a vehicle to provide tax deductible support to Australian sport, both to grow participation and to improve opportunities for those with the talent to compete at the elite level. We're delighted to partner with Team Australia on this exciting program."

The ASF is the only deductible gift recipient for sport in Australia. Interested donors and charitable organisations can enquire on the Team Australia Challenge Pathway Program page on the ASF website.

Team Australia Challenge will be sending two elite Australian teams to Barcelona this year for the historic first ever Puig Women's America's Cup and the Youth America's Cup. Find out more on the campaign website.

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