Hannah Wilcox and Para-Olympian Helena Lucas were the trainers for the weekend who inspired and educated the group on coaching tips for racing in sailing and windsurfing.
All 12 candidates passed with flying colours, having travelled from, Dalgety Bay SC, the Sea Cadets, CCC Dinghy Section, East Lothian YC, Benmore Outdoor Centre/ Toward SC and Edinburgh University.
An incredibly supportive environment was created with lots of teamwork, which made everyone relax and have fun in a nurturing environment with some fantastic female lead coaches as role models.
Trainer Jane Campbell Morrison said. “It really was fantastic, I have not been inspired like this by a course in such a long time, and I really want to go and do the Level 3 now as well as get back out racing. Being on a course with a range of abilities and ages was hugely valuable, along with the fantastic expertise of Helena and Hannah.”
Some of the comments from the participants on the format of this female only course included:
“Girls will speak up more if they are in a female only environment”
“The environment was nurturing”
“No macho men and lots more teamwork”
“No mansplaining or trying to prove themselves”
“Great to have female course leaders as role models”
“Supportive and comfortable space”
Alice Hewson commented, “I wanted to expand what I can deliver sailing wise to others. Particularly in terms of getting more in my club racing. I enjoyed getting to sail lots and increase my knowledge and skills. Seeing other people’s ideas and getting input on delivering different sessions. It was cool to see some of the younger participants who were more comfortable and confident in the female only environment, thriving.”
Trainer Hannah Wilcox commented afterwards, "After my failed attempt at setting up a similar style all-ladies course elsewhere I was starting to wonder "why could we not get this course going, is there really a need?" I was thrilled that this one was so well subscribed, and it soon became obvious that there was indeed a need. I loved how supportive the group was! It was clear to me that they were all very comfortable with each other, which made for a really positive learning environment. Was this because they were all female? I don't know, hopefully, they will be able to give you some feedback on that."
One of the participants, Caitlin Vinicombe, said. “The environment felt way more supportive that other instructor courses I have been on and it felt like a great place to feel comfortable in making mistakes, learning and help other people improve.”
“There were a lot of young fresh DI's on the course and it felt firstly great for them to experience women supporting women, but also an encouragement for me. If 16 y.o. Caitlin who was the only girl on her windsurfing instructors course had seen this course she'd have felt so infused. It also felt like having those younger people on the course enabled us to help them and give some advice that was helpful as opposed to condescending. And in turn to get that advice back from people like Jane.”
“It also occurred to me that out of the 9 pre skills/instructor moderation courses etc all of the trainers except for my di trainer were men so it was really cool to have women running the course. I think the race coach level 2 is something people would do regardless of gender split on courses but actually I know people that would thrive in that format for a regular DI course. There are people who have been given action plans due to confidence, when actually I think they have clearly just been over-shadowed by very loud dominant male voices. Although that is a different point and subjective. It could be argued it is just part of being a DI to be able to manage that challenge.”
Evie Tynan said. “Having raced for many years myself and being a DI, becoming a race coach seemed like a natural progression. I wanted to develop my teaching skills into coaching as well. I enjoyed how much on the water time we had, as it meant we had so much more time to put things into practice rather than spending too much time on theory. I thought that especially to those more nervous in the team, having an all women course really brought out their confidence and the environment was so supportive and friendly.”
David Mellor- RYA Coaching Development Manager, said. “We are excited to see these 12 coaches grow and develop over the coming years, we look forward to supporting them on their coaching journey with the help from RYA Scotland and the RYA Coaching Development Team. The impact 12 additional female coaches will make to the Scottish racing scene will hopefully make a real difference to female participation in racing and coaching, we wish them well on their future coaching endeavours”
sportscotland provided the opportunity to run this all-female course, alongside funding for other instructor training to support those from diverse backgrounds and rural areas.
RYA Scotland is committed to increase the activity of women within the sailing community through collaborative projects like this. The next RYA Race Course Level 2 course is planned for 17th & 18th Feb 2024 with details being finalised and be available soon.