In its first three years Yachting New Zealand's Sailing...Have a Go! programme, with its distinctive trailers, colourful boats and friendly coaches, has helped approximately 9,000 children experience the sport that we know and love.
Now, for its success in breaking new ground, it has been named as a finalist in the innovation category of the prestigious SPARC Sport & Recreation Sector Awards 2009.
This summer, 2,630 boys and girls aged 9-13 took part in Sailing…Have a Go! For many, the opportunity to sail set foot in a sailing dinghy was a once in a lifetime experience - around 60% of them had never been sailing before.
Consisting of several purpose-built trailer units each equipped with nine sailing dinghies and all of the tools required for a safe, fun experience on the water, Sailing…Have a Go! travels between Northland and Bluff for six months each year, offering students in Years 6, 7 and 8 the opportunity to try sailing in a safe and well managed environment.
This year it spent a week on Waiheke Island, three days working with students with disabilities in Northland, and visited Lake the South Island Lakes of Te Anau Brunner for the first time.
"The goal of Sailing…Have a Go! is to make the child's first experience of sailing a fun one," says Yachting New Zealand Chief Executive Des BRENNAN. "We hope they'll continue with the sport and give them the knowledge they need to join a learn to sail programme at a local yacht club and hopefully progress on into the sport as adults."
The Sport and Recreation Sector Awards were introduced by SPARC to recognise and celebrate industry excellence within the New Zealand sport and recreation sector. Judging is led by former All Black Captain Sir Wilson WHINERAY. The Innovation category recognises sport and recreation activities that have successfully broken new ground, based on innovative design and delivery, including excellence in stakeholder relationships, quality management, and achieving results against planning and objectives.
Winners will be announced at an industry conference on 27 April 2009.
TV 2's 'What Now' programme will be including Sailing… Have a Go! in their SPARC Push Play Sporting Calendar segment of the show this Sunday 12 April, screened at some point between 08:45 and 09:15.
Click here to visit the Sailing...Have a Go! pages on Yachting New Zealand's website.
Yachting New Zealand's Sailing…Have a Go! Is one of many programmes worldwide designed to get youngsters involved in grassroots sailing, in line with ISAF's Connect to Sailing initiative. Find out more about Connect to Sailing at www.sailing.org/connecttosailing.