When you talk to new people about sailing, what do you tell them?

Is it the actual technicalities of how you sail a boat? Or is it more about how being on the water makes you feel? What being able to go sailing gives you? The way getting active afloat has made a difference to your life?

Sailability is about so much more than just boats. That's why we're launching the new #MoreThanSailing campaign to help people really understand what getting involved in sailing can do for them, particularly currently inactive disabled people.

#MoreThanSailing is about combining our efforts to spread the word about what we do and is centred on four key messages. How sailing helps with...

  • Increasing physical activity
  • Improving well-being
  • Connecting with others
  • Learning new skills 

Although the campaign is being co-ordinated nationally, we will be making a number of campaign materials available to our Sailability sites to help them reach, communicate and engage with more potential new sailors. 

Whether its an email banner, a social media post, or a presentation for local disability groups, there is a template available. These are just a start and we hope as more and more people join in with #MoreThanSailing, the messages will evolve.

Joff McGill, RYA Sailability Manager, said: "#MoreThanSailing is about breaking down perceived barriers to getting on the water and talking to people who might never have realised what the benefits of sailing are.

"It's a bit like having a conversation with someone in a pub but on a much bigger scale. The sorts of things you would say to them about your love for sailing and the reassurance you offer that it is an activity for everyone are likely to be the sorts of things we want the wider world to be more aware of. 

“It's not about complicated marketing, it's about keeping it simple and using the stories of real life sailors to show the difference sailing makes to people."

#MoreThanSailing is the latest outcome of the research we conducted with specialist agency, Revealing Reality, which is shaping Sailability's future, nationally and locally, from this year. The first part was the release of our SailActivity evaluation tool in April. Now its time to use the marketing and communications insight we gained through this research to help reach untapped markets, including inactive audiences.

The research identified six common Sailability sailor profiles, who all have different characteristics, face different barriers and place a different amount of importance on the various aspects of their Sailability experience. The six sailor types are...

  • Structured learner
  • Seasoned sailor
  • Building resilience
  • Meaningful experience
  • Disadvantaged sailor
  • Keen competitor

The resources provide branded images, key messages and other visual content that can simply be copy and pasted or edited and used on to websites and social media channels around these profiles to start communicating clear, bold statements about why Sailability is #MoreThanSailing. 

You may have noticed RYA Sailability's social media beginning to feature the messages and images?

The campaign materials will be at the RYA Sailability National Conference at Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre on Saturday 16 February. Before that we will be working with a small group of test sites on what groups need to have in place to make the most of the new promotional opportunities.

For example, we will look at website effectiveness and how, using analytics, groups can see how people currently use their website, inclusive communications and how to document and record your sailors' stories, providing a ready-made bank of diverse profiles and case studies to communicate with different audiences.

Sites will be invited to apply to be part of this test group, with the first session due to take place in November. 

Joff added: "One of our biggest learnings from the research was that every site wants to market itself but many don't know where to start. Many have been working successfully with the same groups for 20 years but aren't getting to the person who lives in the next street. #MoreThanSailing can help you access local media, organise your website, produce social media content and engage with new organisations and groups.

"People are more likely to act on something if they experience an emotional response to it. Stories and relatable images are the best way of making emotional connections and simple storytelling is at the heart of #MoreThanSailing. We're excited about what we can achieve together through this campaign."