JOHANNESBURG — SA Sailing’s newly appointed development manager Ricky Robinson will have his skills put to the test for the first time when the MSC Youth Nationals get underway at Midmar Dam this weekend.
Robinson is a new graduate of the international sailing federation (ISAF) Training and Development Scholarship programme (funded by the International Olympic Committee), and will be involved in the championships in a mentoring role.
“I’ll be at the Youth Nationals monitoring the event from a development point of view,” explained Robinson. “I’ll be on the water following the racing in all the fleets and giving video feedback to the sailors in the evenings. My feedback will include commenting on some technical aspects of the sailing as they arise, giving daily comment on trends that become evident in the racing, and most importantly I will be relating what is happening on the water to the SAS long-term participant development guidelines,” he added.
Robinson certainly knows the pressures of competing as a young sailor, having competed at the Youth World Championships himself and recognises the magnitude of this weekend’s national event.
“The Youth Nationals is a very important event for young sailors who have reached the level where they are ready to test themselves against the best sailors in the country,” he explained.
“The sailors can expect well-run races and stiff competition. Over the years this event has acted as the glue that has kept competitive sailing going amongst youth sailors, and is always a highlight on the calendar to look forward to.”
Over 250 sailors from around the country will be competing at Midmar dam from December 14 to 20 across several classes: Optimist, RS Tera, Dabchick, Cats < 16ft, Mirror, 29er, Laser, 420.
Among those competing will be Robinson’s younger siblings Ryan and Michaela, who made history earlier this year by becoming the first South Africans to win the World Mirror Championships.
Robinson is keen to get more families around the country as involved in the sport as his is.
“I am really looking forward to the possibility of making sailing more accessible and attractive to a much larger group of people in South Africa than it has been in the past, which will rely on increasing sailing participation in the current formats as well as growing sailing as a school sport,” he said.