World Sailing, the governing body that controls international sailing competitions around the world, has just finished the latest in a series of clinics designed to help prepare young sailors for international competition. Their Emerging Nations Program (ENP) worked with 14 sailors from different emerging countries to prepare them for the World Championships in Denmark.
This latest clinic from World Sailing was a two-week program focused on the Laser Radial and Finn class vessels. Students spent time both in the classroom and on the water honing their skills. Students were on the water every day during training, at times competing with training teams to give them some competitive experience.
Training provided by World Sailing is not unique to that organization. A number of other non-profits and for-profit enterprises around the world offer similar sailing courses. One such company, NauticEd, is known internationally for its sailing courses online. These are courses that teach sailing theory in advance of sailors beginning on-water training.
What many people do not realize is that sailing courses are not just for competitive sailors. Training certainly is a prerequisite for being competitive, but safe sailing for recreational and leisure purposes also relies on training. Operating a sailing vessel is unlike anything else. It requires that you always know what you are doing.
The art of sailing involves many different skill sets that all have to be learned. Sailors must know and understand the various parts of a sailing vessel. They need to understand the mechanics and physics of sailing and how weather conditions influence both. In short, there is a lot that goes into knowing how to safely handle a vessel so as to make the sailing experience an enjoyable one.
When Competition Is the Point
Taking general sailing courses online is the first step in preparing someone to be a regular sailor. When competition is the point though, training is ratcheted up to the next level. Not only do competitive sailors need a comprehensive understanding of the mechanics of sailing, but they also need to know how to maximize every resource at their disposal for increased speed and navigational accuracy.
Competition takes everything learned in sailing school to a much higher level. It is a lot like riding a bicycle. We all learned how to do so as children, and what we learned way back when serves us just fine when we ride as adults for pleasure or exercise. Without further training though, we would be completely unprepared for a competitive race.
The World Sailing Program
Knowing how competitive sailing can be, it is hard to not recognize the ENP as anything other than a wonderful opportunity for young sailors from emerging countries. Those sailors may not have the same easy access to sailing courses as their counterparts in more competitive nations. Offering them an opportunity to receive top-notch training also gives them the opportunity to compete at the highest possible level.
World Sailing is doing a great thing on behalf of these young sailors. Hopefully the 14 students who completed the recent two-week clinic make the organization proud in all future competitions. Doing well would be a testament to the effectiveness of world-class training at the hand of the sport’s governing body.
Elsewhere in the world, sailing has the luxury of being one of those sports offering abundant training opportunities. From online certification classes to hands-on training, there are plenty of opportunities for people to learn how to sail safely and properly. Some will go on to competition; most will enjoy sailing simply for its own unique pleasures.