Young people in Plymouth will have the chance to learn new skills and try out sailing for the first time when SailGP comes to the city in July.
SailGP, the most competitive racing on water, will come to Plymouth from 17 to 18 July 2021 for the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix – the third event in its global championships’ calendar, following opening events in Bermuda and Taranto, Italy.
As well as being a thrilling spectator event, plans are in place to ensure that it has a positive impact and opens up opportunities for the city’s young people through its three programme pathways – Learning, Careers and Racing. Plymouth City Council and SailGP are working together on a number of inspirational programmes that will include sailing experiences and learning events focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
The aim is to engage with schools and young people right across Plymouth, especially in deprived areas in the north of the city where many will not have had to opportunity to try sailing before.
In the week running up to the race, SailGP Inspire, the league’s community, education and outreach initiative, will offer a unique full day experience for 200 young Plymothians. The day will include the chance to try out sailing, likely for the first time, and hands-on education sessions inside the technical base at Millbay. The initiative will be delivered in partnership with the Mount Batten Centre, with further support from Plymouth Youth Sailing and Horizons.
SailGP Inspire is powered by the belief that sailing can be a force for good and it aims to leave a lasting legacy in all of the eight grand prix host countries in 2021-22, promoting diversity and building a sustainable sport.
In addition to the on-water activity taking place in Plymouth, the Council will run a week-long STEM celebration throughout the week engaging with thousands of students aged from four to 18 years old. This will culminate in a major ‘STEM fest’ at Tinside Lido, where hundreds of young people can learn about the latest sustainable marine technology, including that used by the SailGP teams.
The event will showcase marine sector jobs of the future to Plymouth students, encouraging skills development and inspiring them to explore a career in STEM subjects.
Deputy Council Leader Pete Smith said: “SailGP is going to be absolutely fantastic for the city – bringing in visitors, boosting the local economy and putting on an unmissable show! But it also presents us with an opportunity to encourage our city’s young people to engage with the ocean and we’re grabbing that opportunity with both hands. This is especially important for those living in deprived areas and the north of the city that may not be as connected with all the natural assets that Britain’s Ocean City has to offer.
“Throughout the week, we’ll be working with our partners to give young people their first taste of sailing and open their eyes to the exciting range of jobs that will be available to them in the future.”
SailGP is also working with young people that are already on track to work within the marine industry, offering up to 12 work experience placements for local young adults. Additionally, a world class programme will be run to identify the next generation of performance sailors. This will involve intensive training and racing during the week of SailGP. Applications for both of these programmes are open now, see SailGP.com/inspire for more information.
Although the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix is taking place over just one weekend in Plymouth, its legacy is set to continue far beyond that. The Council will continue to work with partners including the Mount Batten Watersports Centre, Plymouth Youth Sailing, Horizons Sailing Charity, the Ocean Conservation Trust and the Royal Yachting Association to give young people the chance to try sailing and to connect with the ocean.
The opportunities range from trying out watersports and free membership to local sailing clubs, to gaining new qualifications, as well as a programme for young people with disabilities. This all ties into the city’s plans for the new Plymouth Sound National Marine Park and will help to develop the park’s future ambassadors and volunteers.