Sail for Gold – What is it all about, how can your club become involved or what can you do as an individual? Don’t miss out during this historical year for our sport. Plenty more is revealed below…
Whether you live in Llandudno, Lichfield, Largs or Lowestoft, the RYA’s Sail for Gold programme aims to bring London 2012 to your doorstep.
With the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing regattas taking place at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy this summer it would be all too easy for the rest of Britain’s sailing community to feel unconnected from events unfolding on the south coast.
But with the Games presenting such an enormous opportunity to put sailing and windsurfing on the map across the country and recruit new converts into our sport, Sail for Gold provides a nationwide framework of ways for everyone to get involved in special Olympic-themed activities to really make the London 2012 sailing events a truly nationwide spectacle.
Under the banner of ‘Inspire Celebrate Support’, Sail for Gold was launched in March 2011 and since then more than 500 clubs and centres across the whole of Britain have signed up to the programme to start nudging people in their local communities about what opportunities there are to learn to sail and windsurf, and continue participating regularly, in their areas.
Some have already held special Sail for Gold regattas, some hosted Sail for Gold-themed free Open and Taster Days and some ran ‘bring a friend for free’ days. Lots’ has been going on.
But with the clock striking midnight to welcome in the year of the London 2012 Games, that opportunity instantly magnified tenfold. Over the course of the winter, clubs, centres and the RYA have been, and continue, to work feverishly to ensure people rally to show their support for the British Sailing Team, as well as organising fantastic events at their venues to celebrate the Games.
As Celia Edgington, the RYA’s Sail for Gold co-ordinator, explains:
“Sail for Gold is all about Britain’s sailing community coming together and showing the rest of the country just how amazing and inclusive the sport of sailing is. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do this.
Britain has been the world’s top performing sailing nation for the past three Olympics and hopes are high that our sailors can once again shine at Weymouth and Portland. We want to use this success to inspire people throughout the country to get out on the water for the first time, or simply more often, to make a nationwide statement about what it really means to be an active, regular sailor or a member of a vibrant, friendly sailing club.”
Providing the focus of the RYA’s Sail for Gold activity this summer is national ‘Push The Boat Out’ day on Saturday 21 July. Taking place exactly one week before the start of the 2012 Olympic regatta, clubs, training centres, marinas and all boaters, whether sail, motor or windsurfing, are being encouraged to host an event or just get out on the water for the day.
The idea is to show massive, unified national support for the British Sailing Team, as well as showcasing what a great sport sailing is, through local media coverage and sharing event photos and details on the official Sail for Gold Facebook page.
Some clubs have already starting planning special events to coincide with Push the Boat Out with ideas ranging from mini Sail for Gold regattas, to treasure hunts and have-a-go days.
But it is important to remember that being part of Sail for Gold doesn’t have to mean loads of extra work for you or your organisation, or finding space in already crammed calendars. Why not just make one of your existing events Sail for Gold-branded and take advantage of everything that comes with that, from the RYA-supplied banners, medals and DVDs to the additional local publicity for your club or group that being involved in Sail for Gold brings?
Among the other highlights on the national Sail for Gold calendar this year are the touring ‘Our Sporting Life – Sail for Gold’ Olympic and Paralympic sailing heritage exhibition, which provides a fascinating walk through time from pre-World War I through to our present day champions. Alongside rare photos, memorabilia and recollections are also personal items shared with us by past Olympic and Paralympic greats. Plus June’s Passage to Portland at Weymouth and Portland gives sail and motor cruisers a truly unique opportunity to see the 2012 sailing venue prior to the Games and to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Get a full flavour of what’s going on in this historic year below or to find out how you can get involved in Sail for Gold visit www.rya.org.uk/sailforgold
|Event||Date||What’s it all about?|
|‘Our Sporting Life – Sail for Gold’ Olympic & Paralympic Sailing Heritage Exhibition||24 –26 Feb
|At RYA Scotland’s Big Weekend, sportscotland National Centre, Inverclyde, Largs - a fascinating collection of photos and memorabilia from such British Olympic and Paralympic sailing legends as Rodney Pattisson and Keith Musto. This is the exhibition’s second stop after its January launch.
|3 – 4 Mar||At the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show 2012
|10 Mar –10 Apr||At the Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, Waterloo, Liverpool
|3 May –24 Jun||At the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth – coincides with the 2012 Finn World Championships (4 – 18 May)
|27 Jul – 12 Aug||At Weymouth and Portland (venue TBC)|
|Sept (TBC)||At Brightlingsea Sailing Club, Colchester, Essex
|Passage to Portland @ Weymouth and Portland||2 –5 Jun||For sail and motor cruisers, this event will provide a truly unique opportunity for participants to see the 2012 sailing venue prior to the Games and to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Details TBC.
|Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta @ WPNSA||4 –9 Jun||The final chance for all 13 Olympic and Paralympic classes to familiarise themselves with the 2012 racetrack before the big event. Clubs and centres encouraged to host special Medal Race Day events on 9 June.
|Sail for Gold Ball||13 Jun||The traditional gala ‘send-off’ in support of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic Sailors in their quest for medals at the 2012 Olympic Games
|Push the Boat Out – nationwide||21 Jul||Clubs and centres across the country will be encouraging as many boats onto the water as possible on the Saturday before the Olympics, creating an incredible national spectacle showing support for the British Sailing Team.
|Olympic Sailing Regatta @ Weymouth and Portland||29 Jul – 11 Aug||Can Britain’s Olympic sailors top their Beijing 2008 medal haul of four golds, one silver, one bronze? And can the Paralympians claim Britain’s first ever Paralympic sailing silverware? Show support by using many of the online opportunities to send good luck and goodwill messages direct to the team camp.
|Paralympic Sailing Regattas @ Weymouth and Portland||1 –6 Sept|