Sailor in Focus May 2020

06 May 20

Name: Scott Rodgers

Club: Killyleagh Yacht Club

Age: 28

How did you get into sailing?

It all started quite early for me. Growing up in Killyleagh and coming from a sailing family, I was always on the water with my uncles from a young age. Being a member of my yacht club’s junior sailing programme, I then got off to a start in Mirror Dinghy racing. Fast forward, and I later got more involved with instructing and coaching.

How did you get into the Race Official side of it?

I think I got into it quite unintentionally. At the time, one of my uncles often offered up his boat for committee vessel at club and open events. Being an extra pair of hands onboard, I was quickly designated a job and the more I was involved in organising racing, the more I enjoyed it and the challenges that it brought. Before I knew it, I was signed up to an RYA Race Management course with Robin Gray and since, thanks to working with experienced Race Officer Angela Gilmore, I have had exciting opportunities to be involved in some amazing events including UK Youth Nationals, a EuroCup and World Championships.

Can you tell us about the coaching programme you run at KYC?

Yes. I’ve been the clubs Junior Sailing Officer for 5 years now. During this time, the club was awarded a Sport NI development grant and was key to us having the ability to up our training capacity. The Youth Programme has grown to see around 40 sailors on the water every Monday evening and in addition, around 15 young sailors participating in race training sessions. It’s been encouraging to see an increase in juniors out racing at the club and it was even more exciting to see Team KYC bring home the Strangford Lough Youth Series shield in 2018 and 2019! The continued success of this programme is thanks to the dedicated team of instructors, coaches and volunteers who give 100% to make it all happen.

What do you enjoy most about sailing / boating?


Sailing is one of the best sports. I probably take the lough on my doorstep for granted sometimes, but it’s a great place to escape normal working life. I like that it can be as relaxing or as exhilarating as you want it to be, and that there’s a strong social side too. We’re lucky to have such a good sailing community on Strangford Lough and the close proximity of clubs means there’s lots of support for each other’s events. One of the best sides to being a race official, is working with varying groups of people, and experiencing different events at different venues gives me lots of things to improve on. There’s definitely an adrenaline rush when trying to get a fleet of boats off the start line.

Top 3 past experiences as a Race Official?


  • RS200 EuroCup incorporating RS400 Northern Championship
  • RYA UK Youth Championship
  • ITCA Topper World Championship

Has the lockdown given you a chance to do something, try something new or brush up on skills?

It’s definitely strange not to be getting set for the start of the season. Probably like a lot of sailors, I’ve had a little play on the Virtual Regatta app now and then. It’s not something I’m familiar with but it helps pass some time.

What other activities do you enjoy?

Keeping active and seeing as much of the world as I can. So hopefully there will be opportunities to officiate in more exotic locations in the future.

What do you aspire to in sailing or as a Race Official in the future?

Getting my national qualification has been challenging and there’s lots for me to improve on but ultimately, it’s the start of my journey towards World Sailing International Race Official. The drive to reach that level, for me, is the thought of being able to officiate at the highest performance events, events that I otherwise could never be involved in or compete at.

Congratulations to Scott in this fantastic achievement! Hopefully you will get to put your skills to the test soon and thanks from the team here at RYANI for taking part.


If you would like to nominate someone to be our next sailor in focus then please get in touch;  We’d love to hear from you!