On its fourth anniversary, SailGP’s community, education and outreach initiative, Inspire, has celebrated a huge milestone in its ambition to diversify the sport of sailing and inspire the next generation.
The Inspire Program, with its three pillars of Learning, Racing and Careers, smashed its target of reaching 10,000 young people by 2025 two seasons early. The program has already engaged 15,483 participants to date and has now set its sights even higher, with an ambitious goal of engaging 25,000 young people by the end of 2025.
Inspire is part of SailGP’s Better Sport, Better Planet strategy, powered by the belief that sailing can be a transformative force for good. Through Inspire, SailGP aims to make the sport of sailing more accessible for young people without barriers to entry around race, gender or socioeconomic status.
Head of Inspire at SailGP, Tom Herbert Evans, said: “Inspire exists as a pathway to our global racing league and offers a window of inspiration at every event, whether you’re an aspirational sailor or have never seen a boat before, or if you’re looking for a job in the industry. When we first started Inspire, the thought of engaging 10,000 young people seemed unimaginable, but we’ve hugely surpassed that.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in a relatively short time frame, providing hundreds of opportunities within the sailing industry, creating pathways for the SailGP stars of tomorrow, and inspiring the next generation about the use of clean and renewable energy through the science of sailing. With increased commercial investment from our partners including Mubadala, we’re excited to take this program to the next level in the coming seasons.”
Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi sovereign investor, has become a Global Partner of SailGP and Inspire to collectively promote STEM education and create pathways for talent to thrive.
Igniting careers within the sailing industry
One of the standout successes of Inspire has been its Careers Program , which provides work experience and internship opportunities at SailGP to showcase the variety of careers available in the sailing industry. To date, 430 candidates have come through Inspire, 24 of whom are now employed with SailGP on a contract or full-time basis.
Josh Anthony who came through Inspire in Season 3 operates the autonomous race marks to make SailGP’s racecourse more sustainable, while Max Griggs who joined the Careers Program in Plymouth in Season 1 is now a senior member of SailGP’s Wing Team at just 24 years old.
SailGP’s Inspire Careers Program is also having a ripple effect on the wider sailing industry, with hundreds of Inspire candidates now employed across the sector. Milly Jinks, Israel Martinez, Hattie Askew and Katya Castellanos are among a number of Inspire alumni now working for professional sailing teams around the world.
Creating the SailGP stars of tomorrow
Inspire Racing has also delivered on its promise to create genuine foiling pathways and develop the next generation of sailing stars, providing a funnel of exciting talent for SailGP teams.
SailGP Season 2 Inspire Champion Hattie Rogers stepped in to train with the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team in San Francisco and drove the boat alongside Sir Ben Ainslie, represented Great Britain as the fleet reserve female athlete in Plymouth in Season 3.
Natasha Bryant was an Inspire program participant in Season 2 and she is now an integral member of the Australia SailGP Team, sailing on the boat with Tom Slingsby to win the Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final. Another success story is Canadian Madeline Gillis, who joined SailGP as a shore team intern in Chicago last season, jumped onboard the F50 to train with the Canada SailGP Team in Dubai, and is now part of the Canada team.
Bryant said: “One of my first times foiling was on the WASZP, participating in the Inspire program in Sydney, 2020. It was really cool and opened my eyes to the foiling experience. I was hooked immediately and after that week I searched for any opportunity to continue to foil on anything! I am so grateful for the opportunity to now race onboard the F50 with the Australia SailGP Team and cannot wait to see what the future holds!”
Working together with its partner WASZP, Inspire Racing has increased participation in youth performance foiling, with a 50 per cent increase in the sport since Inspire’s inception.
Educating the next generation through the science of sailing
The highest level of engagement has come through the Inspire Learning Program, with 7,337 young people using sailing as the ultimate hands-on science experiment to create better awareness about climate change.
Through tours of the technical site, the pit lane of SailGP, young people from around the world have been able to witness the cutting-edge technology behind SailGP’s high-speed flying catamarans, and learn more about harnessing the power of nature.
A further 4,072 young people were engaged through Inspire’s Adopt-A-Club program, where SailGP pairs local sailing clubs with SailGP Teams to expand access to the sport for young members who might otherwise find it difficult to participate.
Industry enables Inspire to scale new heights
As Inspire looks to continue its momentum and surpass its revised targets, it has been bolstered by a series of commercial partners joining the program to boost its success.
Armstrong Foils, Rooster and EPropulsion continue to be long term supporters of the Program, while MarkSetBot and WASZP has recently renewed its partnership with Inspire for a further three seasons to continue the growth of the program.
Inspire will next be in action at the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez on September 9-10, where all three pillars will be activated. The Learning program will see 300 students from two primary schools and colleges in Saint Tropez enjoy an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Technical Site. 16 (eight male and eight female) talented youth sailors will participate in the WASZP Racing program, while 20 candidates are working across a number of different roles within SailGP for a weeks’ work experience.
To learn more about SailGP Inspire, read SailGP’s full Season 3 report.