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18 January 2010, 04:57 pm
New British-Based Scheme To 'Activate Your Laser Fleet'
Paul Goodison of Great Britain celebrates winning gold in Qingdao
Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison is the Ambassador for the new Activate Your Laser Fleet scheme

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LaserPerformance, the UKLA and the RYA, supported by Sport England have teamed up to launch a new programme aimed at helping Clubs 'Activate' their Laser Fleets.
The Laser dinghy is the most successful adult and youth racing dinghy in the world, with almost 200,000 boats having been built. There is a huge population of Lasers in the UK, however not all are being regularly used and this programme provides an opportunity to increase participation in sailing.

The new project will support Clubs to develop ideas on how to encourage Laser owners and sailors back to the water and to help Clubs re-claim Lasers that have been abandoned at their premises.

Coordinated by Graham Manchester, RYA Sport Development and LaserPerformance Fleet Sales Manager James Lund-Lack, clubs will be able to join a day on and off the water to gain information and share ideas on activating their Laser fleet and get ongoing support from the RYA's team of Regional Club Coaches to ensure the success of their 'Activation' plans, as well as equipment maintenance, repair advice and purchasing support from LaserPerformance.

Clubs will also receive a document pack containing advice on topics such as how to develop and deliver a sports development plan and how to access funding for their club.

Recognising the merits of the programme, Skandia Team GBR's Paul Goodison who holds Olympic, World and European titles in the Laser, has become an Ambassador of the project.

"Getting more people out on their Lasers and enjoying themselves is something I would always encourage and so I jumped at the chance to be an Ambassador for this project. What's great about this project is that it's not just about bits of paper and workshops but real, ongoing practical support for clubs," said Goodsion.

The Activate Your Laser Fleet project has already been piloted in a number of clubs in Great Britain with some considerable success. Pilot participants South Cerney Sailing Club's Jon Hammond commented: "We've turned our three boat Laser fleet into a thriving success with a tailored and regular training programme. Not only have skill levels and enjoyment increased, there is a hunger to improve standards and facilities for our Laser sailors. We have increased the numbers of our Laser fleet to double figures and hope to reach 20 boats regularly competing in 2010."

The project will now be rolled out to select clubs with a Laser Fleet, with Fleet Captains of the Laser Class being invited to attend the workshops that start in February 2010.

At the end of the first year of the project the Club which develops the most innovating way of Activating its Laser Fleet will receive a special award and Skandia Team GBR's Paul Goodison has kindly agreed to spend a day with the winning Club.

If you feel that your Club would benefit from the support offered by the Activate Your Laser Fleet Project, then contact Tzaneen Mears at the RYA for more information about becoming involved.

Katie Ashworth
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