In the afterglow of the 2012 London Olympics, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) is making the success of the Olympic legacy a personal goal, by helping to inspire the sportsmen and women of the future.
The Olympic sailing venue is making a conscious effort to ensure the Olympians of the future have the best facilities and training available to them. Having hosted youth sailing events and training for a number of years, the Academy have always had a passion for getting youngsters into the sport, but following on from the Olympics, this focus has shifted up a gear with a great emphasis now placed on encouraging children to take up the sport of sailing.
In association with the Chesil Trust charity, WPNSA have facilitated a 'Sail for a Fiver' scheme which enables schools in Dorset and the surrounding counties to bring classes of children to the venue for half day training courses, with the cost at just £5 per child, although the scheme costs more to deliver, the difference being funded by the Chesil Trust, with support form the Academy. So far over 10,000 children have got out on the water for the first time through this scheme, and the aim is to continue to give as many children as possible this opportunity.
There are a number of youth sailing classes who frequently utilise the facilities and idyllic sailing waters at WPNSA including the Optimist, Topper, Cadet, 29er, RS Tera and Laser Classes.
The Optimist Class, boasting the largest number of participants in any youth sailing dinghy in the UK have held numerous events and training at WPNSA including National Championships, Squad Selections and Training camps.
Simon Rogers, Chairman IOCA (UK) commented, "It is always guaranteed good racing when holding an event at WPNSA, the facilities more than cater for what can be 500+ Optimists and their parents. The Optimist Class has long been using WPNSA as a venue for events, but having watched the Olympic Games take place there is certainly an inspiring element to it. Youngsters as young as eight years old can be a part of an event at the same venue where Olympic Sailors are carrying out their training simultaneously. Next month we are holding the 2013 Optimist Selector Event, to determine who will represent Great Britain at the World and European Championships this year."
The Topper Class has recently held an all-girls training day from the Academy, something common within youth classes aiming to provide a fun and healthy learning environment for girls to develop their sailing skills whilst providing some active role models within the sport to encourage greater female participation.
Lord Sebastian Coe has high praises for the Academy, "Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy successfully hosted the world's elite sailing and windsurfing athletes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, one of the greatest shows on earth. The award winning venue has now entered its new phase in life as a multisport facility for everyone to enjoy. The Academy will continue to inspire new generations of water enthusiasts both locally and globally. Offering facilities for beginners' right through to high profile competitors, the sporting venue caters to both abled and disabled competitors. With a strong commitment to sustainable practices the WPNSA is ensuring that a natural environment is maintained as the ultimate water sports venue."
Upcoming youth events at WPNSA include Squad Training for the Topper and RS Tera Class, the 2013 Optimist Selector event, and the RS Tera National Championships. The sportsmen and women of the future are being greatly inspired by the lasting 2012 Olympic legacy; with the Academy making a heartfelt effort to keep the momentum and celebration of sport in Great Britain alive.