Wakayama: the future home of sailing
SUNCITY GROUP HOLDINGS JAPAN Co., Ltd., which plans to realize its future Integrated Resort Wakayama IR 2.0, has partnered with the Japan SailGP Team to help develop youth sailing in Japan.
The Japan SailGP Team – competitors in the sport’s pinnacle league – collaborated with SUNCITY GROUP HOLDINGS JAPAN Co., Ltd. for the Japan SailGP Team U-20 Foiling Camp in Wakayama by SUNCITY GROUP, aimed at nurturing the next generation of sailors and bringing awareness to marine conservation. The academy was held at Wakayama Sailing Center over the weekend of October 10-11, 2020.
The two-day youth camp was part of the Wakayama Activation Program inaugurated by SUNCITY GROUP HOLDINGS JAPAN. Training was facilitated by some of Japan’s top performance coaches, including eight-time foiling Moth class national champion, Hiroki Goto and featured the WASZP class foiling dinghy. The camp also included a marine environment conservation seminar by Mr. Ken Hirai, a local marine environmental activist and director at NPO Wakayama Environment Network, who helped the youngsters gain a better understanding of marine conservation efforts. Following the seminar Japan SailGP Team members, the youth camp attendees and SUNCITY GROUP employees assisted in a beach clean-up.
The camp was designed to help create a pathway for young people to gain experience for a future in sailing as well as learn about innovative solutions to complex environmental challenges. The camp also spotlighted Wakayama and the regional development that is underway to revitalize and develop Wakayama as the home of sailing.
Japan SailGP Team COO Sofuku said: “Sixteen young sailors attended the camp and I was very impressed with the enthusiasm and skill of those involved. It was great to have female participation in the event as well as teach the youngsters about the marine environment and conservation, something that is important to us at SailGP having recently launched our Race for the Future purpose-led agenda aimed at accelerating change to a cleaner and more inclusive future. We hope that this is the first of many camps in Japan and it will help to inspire and accelerate the sport in the region as well as build a pathway and opportunities for young sailors within the industry.”
Eight-time Moth class national champion Hiroki Goto said: “It was great to provide an opportunity for the young sailors to experience foiling for the first time. We had some really good wind conditions and I was particularly pleased that everyone successfully managed to foil and, most importantly, enjoyed themselves. To develop a pathway in the sport we need to create opportunities and access from an early age to try foiling, which was exactly the aim of this camp. Hopefully we will see some of the young sailors today participating in SailGP in the future.”
Sara Umemoto, a student who participated, said: “This was an amazing experience, I didn’t know if I would be able to foil but am really glad that I could and the feeling of the wind blowing past me was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Wakayama was a great place to experience foiling for the first time, with a great view of the mountains and varied wind conditions. Now I just want to practice in Wakayama and get better at it and who knows where that could lead one day.”