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Australian Sailing Summit | Resources for Club’s & Associations

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to represent Australian Sailing’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group at the NSW/ACT Sailing Summit, held at Canberra Yacht Club. My expectations were absolutely blown away about what I learned from Australian Sailing, in which the ANHCA is an affiliated Class.

I had the opportunity to meet and yarn with the President of AS, Alistair Murray AM, the General Manager for AS, Ben Callard, and the NSW/ACT Club Support Officers Jess Tames and Craig Ferris. Alistair Murray began with a presentation surrounding the overarching goals of AS, including an in-depth look at their 2032 Strategic Plan. A big part of this Strategic Plan is the ‘High-Performance Program’ (olympics); however, it was refreshing to hear Alistair, along with Craig Ferris and many of the ‘more-experienced’ attendees at the meeting highlight and understand there are vastly more opportunities and pathways for success in our sport other than the Olympics. Naturally, when it was my turn to speak, you can bet which pathway I was boasting about…

Some of the other topics covered at the NSW/ACT Summit included the importance of including and promoting young people on committees; both on a grassroots club level, along with State, National or even within an International Association. Additionally, a large amount of volunteer information was provided, with links to professional training, courses and future development programs. We also took an in depth look at the statistics from the DEI Survey sent out over the last couple months, along with AS participation rates over the last two years. Some of the statistics and a summary of the responses included:

  • 275 responses 
  • 49% responses from females
  • 30% respondents largest age group from 55-64
  • 5% under 24 responded
  • Responses from all States and territories  – largest response from NSW and VIC clubs

Challenges to Clubs/Assoc. that respondents highlighted were:

  • Limited awareness of needs of under-represented groups
  • Elitist culture and “join in and be like us” attitude from older sailors
  • Limited choice of opportunities
  • Lack of specific training for staff, volunteers, coaches, instructors and members
  • Lack of infrastructure/facilities and inability to upgrade (due to councils, funding, etc.)
  • Long term male culture and limited desire to change and differentiate, usually in leadership roles
Paddy's DEI Presentation NSW/ACT Sailing Summit Presentation

Australian Sailing have done a lot of work getting a bunch of resources, tips and tricks on their website for clubs and associations to utilise, it just takes a lot of investigating to find them! Here’s a couple links to check out if anyone was interested: