Connect To Sailing's overriding goal is to revitalise grass roots participation in all categories of sailing outside elite activity and put sailing firmly back into a growth sport with a focus on youth. There is evidence to suggest that participation in sailing around the world is in decline and the age of active participants increasing, as sports seek to compete with each other to attract participants and compete with a multitude of other interests seeking to attract today's youth.
As a first step, the Connect To Sailing concept aims to bring together the organisations involved in and supporting the sport of sailing in a country, such as the Affiliated Clubs, the recognised National Class Associations, the sailing industry, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, boat show organisers, commercial sailing schools, media and NGO's etc. By working together in partnership these organisations will share their resources and experiences to achieve a more integrated approach to the development of the sport. It will only be a shared approach with all stakeholders working together that we will make a significant difference. Part of YAI's mandate is to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate and benefit from the sport.
The initiative needs support to move forward and YAI will actively engage with its members and ensure that ‘Connect to Sailing’ is on the agenda of each member club. It is then the responsibility of each member club to identify its partners and move forwards together to identify the best strategy for the development of the sport in that individual club. YAI recognises that there will not be a 'one size fits all' solution and the YAI’s team will help find the right solution for your Club. A toolkit to enable a club to take the initiative to open the initial dialogue in creating a Local Task Force, including a blueprint for the opening meeting and the Taskforce Terms of Reference. The YAI’s team is available to help through the steps to make the change that will start the focus back on the development of sailing.
There are many fantastic ‘development’ programmes already out there, excellent examples of best practice, which can be picked up in entirety or revised for an individual club. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. "Connect to Sailing’ aims to share best practice developed by all participating groups, using a combination of workshops, written manuals and website and mentoring. The YAI’s Connect to Sailing sub site will be a database of best practice from around the globe, enabling the sharing of knowledge.