SailGP has announced a series of link-ups between sailing clubs in the South West and nine international teams that will be taking part in this July’s Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth – Britain’s Ocean City.
The initiative is part of SailGP’s ‘Adopt-a-Club’ community outreach program, which aims to create a bridge between world-class athletes and young sailors in the locations where SailGP events are held.
The ‘Adopt-a-Club’ activities form part of SailGP’s Inspire program, which is designed to connect with young people in event areas and showcase the importance of sustainability in sailing and how it can be a force for good. Since the founding of SailGP in 2018, the Inspire program has engaged over 8,000 young people around the globe and is well on its way to reaching its target of 10,000 young people by 2025
As part of the ‘Adopt-a-Club’ program in Plymouth, all 10 clubs will nominate one male and one female sailor who will receive a weekend of training with their team on the RS Feva boat and get to race in front of the F50 race boats during the event weekend.
Each team will also take part in a range of engagement activities to build relationships with their adopted club and give them an insight into the experience of competing in an elite sailing competition.
As part of the program, the Great Britain SailGP Team (GBR) has been paired with Yealm Sailing Club and Plymouth Youth Sailing which works with disadvantaged young people and provides access to a range of on-water programs to help them develop confidence and self-esteem through sailing.
A number of activities are planned as part of the link-ups which included a recent visit to Plymouth Youth Sailing by World Sailor of the Year and a member of the Great Britain SailGP Team, Hannah Mills OBE, who met with a number of young sailors.
Hannah Mills OBE, who is also SailGP’s Global Purpose Ambassador, said: “Helping to inspire the next generation and having a positive impact in the places where we race is a big part of our work at SailGP and the Adopt-a-Club program is a really enjoyable way of doing this.
“It was great to spend time with the young sailors from Plymouth Youth Sailing and talk to them about my experiences as an athlete and our work at SailGP which includes a range of activities to protect the oceans and sees us support a host of sustainability and education projects in and around the Plymouth area.”
As part of the link-ups, young sailors from Yealm Sailing Club and Plymouth Youth Sailing will also be given an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the Great Britain team’s base during race week and meet the athletes that will be competing in the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix on 30 and 31 July.
Great Britain SailGP’s grinder, Nick Hutton, said: “SailGP is all about having a positive impact and, as someone from the region, the Adopt-a-Club program and the opportunity to connect with local clubs and young, up-and-coming sailors is really important to me.
“It is great for us to be able to spend time with the next generation and for them to get the experience of seeing what it is like to be part of an elite set-up and learn about what it takes to progress within the sport. I am really looking forward to meeting-up people from the club and seeing how we can help to inspire the F50 sailors of the future.”
Plymouth Youth Sailing Club commodore Adrian Kemp said: "Having a world class event on our doorstep and the chance to establish a link with the British team is absolutely fantastic for our club. It is an opportunity to inspire not just the existing young sailors at our club but also to help us engage with new people, bring them into the sport and give them the chance to get out on the water and experience the ‘blue playing fields’ around the city.
“Many of our young sailors are very aware of environmental issues and the opportunity to hear from a high profile and highly decorated athletes like Hannah Mills on the importance of protecting the oceans will be a great way of helping to educate them on this vitally important issue and helping them play their part in ensuring we continue to have seas to sail in.”
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Adopt a Club Pairings Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
Australia SailGP Team: Torpoint Mosquito Sailing Club
Canada SailGP Team: Salcombe Yacht Club
ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team: Tamar River Sailing Club
France SailGP Team: Saltash Sailing Club
Great Britain SailGP Team: Plymouth Youth Sailing and Yealm Sailing Club
New Zealand SailGP Team: Plym Yacht Club
Spain SailGP Team: Mount Batten Centre
Switzerland SailGP Team: Cargreen
United States SailGP Team: Horizons Sailing