New initiative for women in sailing

Published on October 5th, 2020

Promoted by World Sailing, Steering the Course is an international festival to be held in 2021 which will provide opportunities for women across the world to get into sailing, as well as encourage pathways into coaching and race management. Here’s the pitch:


Welcome to World Sailing’s first ever women’s sailing celebration, Steering the Course.

Sailing is one of the most inclusive sports there is, and can be enjoyed by anyone, whether they choose to sail as a recreational hobby or compete at the highest level. Here at World Sailing, we are always striving to make our sport accessible to all, regardless of age, gender or ability.

Steering the Course is an international festival which will provide opportunities for women across the world to get into sailing, as well as encourage pathways into coaching and race management. This is a global initiative to bring together sailing communities, highlighting the achievements of women already within the sport, as well as attracting those who have never tried it before.

We are now inviting our Member National Authorities to sign up to support the event and then engage their clubs and centres to take part in the range of activities suggested. We want MNAs and clubs to be able to structure the event to suit them best, so there are a number of activity ideas that can be used.

Overall this event aims to bring together women across all generations, whether it be sailors, coaches, instructors or race officials, in a celebration of our sport. The festival will run alongside social media campaigns and profiles of female race officials, coaches, instructors, MNA staff and of course sailors.

When will Steering the Course run?

We want to engage new participants at the beginning of the sailing season, so they have a chance to get stuck into the sport, no matter which location they are taking part in. Therefore, we have two festivals, one for Northern Hemisphere MNAs and one for Southern Hemisphere MNAs:

• Northern Hemisphere Festival – Friday 21 to Sunday 30 May 2021
• Southern Hemisphere Festival – Friday 1 to Sunday 10 October 2021

MNAs can work with centres and clubs to choose the best days to suit them, whether it is a weekend or the whole 10 days.

What activities can we run as part of Steering the Course?

We have a range of activity suggestions available but are also encouraging MNAs and clubs to suggest other ideas too. Any activity that promotes sailing as a sport or recreational activity to new participants, or invites existing participants to try new roles, is welcome. Clubs and centres can also incorporate more than one activity. Our key focus is that all activities should be SAFE and fun.

Some suggestions include:
1. Taster Sessions: Fun sessions to get new participants involved in the sport. Various disciplines could be covered, such as dinghies, keelboats, windsurfing and kiteboarding. World Sailing will provide example session plans for different age groups, including games.
2. Learn to Sail Courses: For girls and women.
3. Women’s Race Day / Event: Women only.
4. Race Day: Involve female race officials, using a group of all-female race officials where possible, or invite new interested females to shadow current race officials. This can be implemented alongside a Women’s Race Day.
5. Women at the Helm: For either training exercises or races, women must be helm.
6. Be an Instructor or Coach for the Day: Current female youth sailors could work with instructors or coaches for the day (possibly even delivering the taster sessions) for an in-depth insight into these roles. This can provide an opportunity to signpost them to future MNA coaching and instructor courses.
7. Information sessions: 20-minute information Sessions on volunteering opportunities including shore-based regatta assistants, race officials etc.

What will World Sailing provide to support the festival?

World Sailing will support the festival in many different ways, most notably by providing session plans, with coaching points and fun game ideas, for taster sessions.

Alongside the festival, a jam-packed social media campaign will run, celebrating the many different facets of our sport. From profiles on female race officials, coaches and instructors to footage from your events across the world, Steering the Course will be an international festival.

A suite of electronic resources will be available for MNAs including the event logos, banner and poster designs, web and email footers, and designs for printing t-shirts and bibs.

To support Emerging MNAs running events for the festival, special marketing packages will be available.

We’re in! What do we do next?

If your MNA would like to take part, sign up for the event here.

Over the next few months, World Sailing will then be in touch with more information on nominating female role models, session activity packs, branding information and our social media calendar, so you too can get involved.We’re in! What do we do next?

If you have any further questions please contact rob.holden@sailing.org or catherine.duncan@sailing.org.

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