Ian Walker has just overseen a massive overhaul of the RYA's Youth system, making it more regionally focused and responding to complaints that the old system was taking parents and kids - two generations of sailors - away from their sailing clubs. Andy Rice of Sailjuice.com asks Ian, the Director of Racing, about the 'what' and the 'why' of the new system. He is also keen on exposing kids to a diversity of sailing experience, trying out different boats and sailing with different people. Ian cites the example of the 420 class and how it has embraced the opportunities of competing on the multi-class handicap racing circuit, the Selden Sailjuice Winter Series. Tell us in the comments what you think of the RYA's new vision and how you think it will work out in your region. Or if you're from another country what's working and not working for you.



00:00 Why it was time for an overhaul of the youth system

01:03 Declining participation in the North

01:35 Parents driving their kids around the youth circuit means less club activity

02:25 Time to invest in the regions

04:45 We’re going to be relying on classes and clubs for lower level training groups

06:05 Why Ian loves doublehanded boats, particularly for girls sailing together

07:32 Parental pressure for their kids to be the next Olympic medallist needs to be de-escalated

08:35 Could private coaching creep in?

09:17 Ian ‘takes his hat off’ to the success of the Selden Sailjuice Winter Series. The 420 class has embraced it, other youth classes should follow

09:50 Big handicap events are a great way to build up experience of big fleet starting

10:48 It’s important to avoid burning out kids with ‘too much too soon’. We need to keep kids in the sport for life




Ian crewing for Jess Lavery at the 2019 edition of the Tiger Trophy at Rutland Water