After a challenging spring and summer, we were able to launch the Academy Programme over October and November, working within an evolving framework of guidance and legislation at the time, with adaptability being key to deliver training safely and successfully. The exemption for under 18 organised sport allowed our junior and youth sailors to get out on the water on a more regionalised model, minimising the travel required of individuals.
Performance Sailing Officer Kate Pounder commented. “It was fantastic that we had the opportunity to run some Academies during these challenging times. We are planning, and hope in the near future to add additional race training opportunities to more clubs around Scotland to support junior and youth sailors at their home club.”
In place of the highly focused Performance Teams of previous years we delivered invitational Training for sailors looking to progress along the pathway. This brought together the top Scottish sailors in each class to suitable venues. We finished the year with an adapted series to make up the Winter Championships. Over two weekends across six different venues, eighty sailors managed to compete in what for many will have been their only racing event of 2020. It was great to have enabled the sailors to get out on the water in this format enabling safe racing in a Covid-19 secure environment.
Now well into this latest lockdown and with the postponement of the UK Youth Championship until August, coaches and our performance sailors are embracing innovative ways to connect with the sport, while continuing to plan for a return to the water when able.
February sees the start of our Icebreaker eSailing Series to get junior and youth sailors together online to enjoy some racing. With all the excitement of following the Prada Cup in New Zealand its awesome to be able to race the AC75s virtually. Hopefully one of our current junior sailors will be part of an Americas Cup campaign at some time in the future just like former 29er sailor Neil Hunter from Arran who is on the handles for Team INEOS UK out in Auckland.
Many of our coaches are now working with Coach Developer Practitioners both remotely and as in situ support when we return to the water. So look out for some new faces over training in the months to come. For sailors over the next couple of months we are putting together a range of opportunities to continue to connect with the sport both physically and mentally. For junior and youth sailors look out for a range of opportunities over the next few months from fitness and technical sessions to Q&As with some of the British Sailing Team.
We are all really keen to get back out on the water. Assuming pandemic recedes and the guidance allows we will be looking to run a full programme of performance activity across the months of April and May to set sailors up for a busy summer on the water.
Further details on the Performance activities of RYA Scotland can be found here.