In 2018 we are developing our programmes to better meet the needs of current Wellington youth sailors with different skillsets and sailing career objectives. The intention is that the change will create a better feeder programme to the Under 23 Squad with the re-introduction of the Match Racing Development Squad. The programmes will give young sailors the opportunity to learn new skills in keelboats or extend themselves to the exciting world of match racing if their keel boat skills are already developed.
Introduction to youth keel boats
This year we are going to run a 5 day holiday course in the July school holidays. The focus is on youth sailors learning the basics of keel boat boat handling. Sailors will learn all positions (helm, mainsheet, jib, spinnaker) in an Elliot 6, and how to sail as a team. The week will culminate in a small fleet racing regatta.
Match Racing Development squad
The Match Racing Development Squad is aimed at those who already have experience in keel boats or larger multi-person dinghies, but have not had formal training in match racing. Sailors will have intensive training in match racing skills, and the squad will train and race with the Under 23 squad throughout the season. If sailors in this programme demonstrate strong skills and commitment there will be the opportunity to be selected for a regatta with members of the Under 23 Squad. Sailors will be introduced to other areas of development that make a holistic sportsperson such as health and fitness and goal setting.
Under 23 Programme
The Under 23 Programme is directed towards the more experienced youth sailors who have typically had exposure to match racing through the Development Squad or other means. The Programme attracts talented sailors not only from the Wellington Region, but also from around New Zealand, with students attending tertiary education in Wellington (University/Polytech, etc), participating in the programme. Like the development squad, the focus is not just sailing but across all areas of youth development, health, fitness, goal setting and safety.
Secondary Schools Programme
The Secondary Schools Programme builds on the skills learnt from “Learn to Sail” dinghy programmes run by schools in the Wellington Region as well as summer programmes by junior sailing clubs . The programme focuses on more advanced boat handling and water safety skills along with continuing to develop strengths in leadership and team work. Each year the Secondary Schools Programme culminates in the Wellington College Sport – Secondary Schools Match Racing Championships. This multi-day match racing regatta enables the crews to put their newly acquired team work and sailing skills into practice to crown the region’s College Sport Match Racing Champions for the annual College Sports Awards.
Regional Match Racing Clinics
Each July school holidays for the past 6 years, WYST has run Regional Match Racing Clinics for 8 teams (32 sailors) from around the country. The clinics have involved sailors from New Plymouth Yacht Club, Napier Sailing Club, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club, Wairoa Yacht Club and Naval Point Yacht Club. The regional programme provides an opportunity for sailors from some of the smaller provinces/sailing regions to improve their sailing skills using the Scheme’s Elliot 6m yachts and get a taste of the Match Racing form of sailing. The clinics focus on building team work, boat handling and communication skills among the crews. These skills are ultimately tested on the final day where the sailors have an opportunity to race in a 1 day match racing regatta. In addition to a focus on sailing, the programme provides an opportunity for youth from outside of the Wellington Region to develop other life skills while spending time away from home in a safe but challenging environment.
The Trust continues to develop its existing programmes and in 2017 it joined with the Blind Foundation and Blind Sailing New Zealand to provide sailing opportunities in the Wellington region for the blind or visually impaired. In addition to the aims of the Blind Foundation and Blind Sailing NZ, WYST’s programme is intended to deliver a stimulating personal development experience for blind participants and, with the involvement of our existing WYST youth sailors, gives the Trust a new and exciting means of furthering the development of Wellington youth. It is the intention to run this partnership again in 2018.