RYA Keelboat Development Manager, Jack Fenwick, “We are
talking about options clubs have for increasing their racing.
“We will look at certain ley areas that are most important
for people when they choose to go racing and how you can optimise those areas –
be it course selection, timing of racing, race management, how that works in
with your social activity and how you work with volunteers who manage your
More sailing club members in Wales take part in social
sailing than racing, so advice on getting more people involved will enhance the
value of club membership.
“We look at various different options clubs have got for
encouraging new participation within their racing, be that through course
setting, types of racing, how they include more people and also handicapping to
encourage newcomers to the sport,” said Fenwick.
“When you look at pretty much every sailing venue round the
country you have hundreds of boats sat in marinas who are just cruising and
there is no reason those boats should not be taking part in some form of racing
“We have to dispel the myth that racing is hard, scary, not
something everybody can do by creating formats which encourage people to come
“For instance if we can get rid of start lines which are
crowded and noisy then that is one way of encouraging people to do it.
“Simply racing from A to B, maybe with a pub when you get to
B with a friendly lunch or a barbecue – putting a reason to go somewhere and
then adding a competitive element to that.
“It does not have to be the Fastnet race, just a bunch of
boats going to one place altogether and happening to work out what the results
are at the end of it.
“It is about encouraging a wider range of boats to take part
because racing should be fun and it is much more fun to race against 20 boats
than it is against two. How do we get those other 18 boats to come out, that is
what we are working with clubs to do.
“Anybody who wants to go sailing, wants to go faster, racing
is just trying to overtake the boat in front of you. That is all racing is and
we can make those rules as unrestrictive as possible, a really easy access
point to racing.
“The more serious you get then the more serious the racing,
but for most people it is a social activity and the fun aspect is what we need
to concentrate on as opposed to strict adherence of perfect race course or
perfect handicap system.”