Moving into racing can be a scary business for newer sailors. But initiatives like St Mawes Sailing Club’s new ‘Hartley Hares’ transition squad can help smooth the path from rookie to racer.

St Mawes Sailing Club Junior Sail Training (JST) has a successful established ‘Team Feva’ programme with sailors who have progressed from OnBoard now competing at regional and national level.

Yet the club recognised they weren’t converting all the OnBoarders they could. So as passionate advocates of sailing’s potential to positively change the lives of young people in their local community, St Mawes Sailing Club launched the ‘Hartley Hares’ in April.

The concept is simple; create a positive, fun environment, less intense than Team Feva, which will allow talent to develop and less confident sailors to build skills prior to the leap into Fevas.

Kindly supported by funding from the sailing club, JST now has four Hartley 12.2s with 10 youngsters aged 8-12 training in the programme with the aim to take part in the St Mawes Town Regatta on Saturday 30 June.

Miles Carden, St Mawes’ JST coordinator, picks up the story.

“Working with the local Roseland Youth Sailing Trust, JST has improved its reach into schools. However, we need to do more to maximise the potential the club, through JST, can deliver in the local community in terms of health and social benefits.

“We want local children within a 20 mile radius of St Mawes to continue to have access to the best quality sail training in their own village; to positively change lives of children and volunteers by building confidence and life skills through sailing, regardless of age, lifestyle, faith, gender or mobility.

“With the new ‘Hartley Hares’ squad we believe we can deliver our mission to smooth the progression of junior sailors into RS Fevas, teach them key skills and help to retain local participation in the JST programme.”

Miles is quick to stress that a key element of the Hares’ ethos is removing any pressure to progress too quickly to Fevas, while allowing more time to gain sailing and racing skills, including training with both asymmetric and symmetric spinnakers.

As well as providing a progression into Fevas, the skills the youngsters develop also support an alternative route to other local race fleets, including some of the historical local classes such as Falmouth Working Boats, Sunbeams, St Mawes ODs and Ajaxs.

Gradually, the Hares will attend local sailing events as a team and start nearby club racing to embed the passion for local community sailing events at an early age.

Miles adds: “The JST has clear growth, is highly valued and well supported by the community, provides high standard of teaching, is very well regarded by the children and parents and it hits above its weight. Team Feva has 16 sailors in the programme.

“We’re pleased to now be expanding this to increase the number of children participating in JST, provide affordable access to the waters of St Mawes to local children, increase state schools access to a high quality water-sports, reduce the average age of racers and promote the health and wellbeing of all participants.”

We can’t wait to see the kids ‘haring’ around the racecourse soon!