SAS Chairman Peter Hall, accompanied by Rob Holden made two presentations at ABYC last night.
The current SAS key numbers are:
- SAS Sailors registered – 6 832
- Clubs – 63
- SAS Registered Sailing Schools – 9
- Level 1 Instructors – 122
- Senior Instructors – 52
- Club race Coaches – 15
- Coach developers – 2
- Qualified safety boat operators who are not instructors/ coaches – 82
- SAS permanent staff – 6
Interestingly enough one of the current challenges is recognised as; “The propensity of porcupines” – down in our neck of the woods we call them Dementors!
The new SAS Council has been taking a long and critical look at the state of our sport and has a plan to transform it from a Cinderella sport to a multi discipline national sport.
Simply put SAS has identified 5 key priorities and the need for a professional full time CEO as the first phase of putting sailing back on the map. Indicative of the poor performance of sailing in South Africa is that 12 South African sailors took part in the 1992 Olympics with only one team at the 2012 Olympics.
Hall pointed out that to date the new SAS Council has:
- Developed a clear strategy
- Made boat purchase finance available through Maslow Finance for SAS members
- Successfully implemented the KZN development program – 3 new schools
- Set up a rural training program with dinghy training rigs
- Communicated ISAF Youth Worlds selection criteria twelve months prior to event
- Launched a South African Sailing Team
- Restructured the SAS Council
- Aligned SAS regional boundaries with Government boundaries.
A large emphasis is being placed on support for selected Halo Events – events which will place sailing firmly in the public spotlight – an example of which is the planned attempt to break the record for the most kite sailors on the water at one time in one place, scheduled for Cape Town in 2016.
SAS has identified these Key priorities:
- Structures and Governance – In order to deliver our key priorities we need to operate SAS professionally along sound business principles. This requires us to employ a full time CEO, update organisation structure, professionalise the operations, and define the role of the board/ council and full time staff. This needs to be supported by a strong revenue stream.
- Key Stakeholder Relationships – The landscape in which sailing operates in South Africa is changing and our sport needs to change with this. Identifying the key stakeholders, and working closely with them, is critical for our growth and to secure funding and support for our initiatives. This is crucial in a local, continental, and international context.
- Build the Base – We need to introduce and retain more people to all disciplines of sailing. In order to achieve this we require world class yacht clubs, more sailing schools and an active schools sailing league that is supported by District Sailing Co-ordinators.
- Transformation of Race, Gender, Disability – Sailing is seen as a white elitist male sport. To meet our mission of appealing to all South Africans this needs to change. Sailing needs to focus on growing the minorities with a focus on race, gender and disability. This will initially be driven by dedicated programmes. Success in this area will have benefits for all.
- Podium Finishes at Worlds Top Events – South African Sailors are not performing at the level that we have in the past and this needs to be rectified. We have gone from a team of twelve at the 1992 Olympics to one team at 2012 Olympics. Excellence at the highest level provides role models and inspires our youth to sail. Creating this excellence requires a plan and focus on the top end of our sailing from ISAF Youth Worlds through to Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race.
At the end of the day we need to “unporcupine” ourselves and share our sport with as many as possible along with the change in mindset that insists on all club members supporting SAS.