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Sep 11, 2017 |

Grass roots sailing

A while ago I said I would talk about grass roots sailing, well here we go. I started my sailing career in Toppers sailing with Crawley Mariners Yacht Club at Hedgecourt Lake before changing to the larger water of Weir Wood Sailing Club where I later progressed to sailing the Laser (there were no 4.7s or Radials when I started sailing).

Grass roots sailing is about building a base and finding the Pete Burlings and the Ben Ainslies of the future. It takes years to nurture the talent and work starts now. In fact it is key as if the young sailors of tomorrow do not enjoy the sailing today we may lose them from the sport for ever. Toppers is one such class that provides excellent entry level access for new sailors and an ideal stepping stone up to single handed Olympic classes.

This year I have really enjoyed coaching Topper sailors and one of the nicest things is how much they improve from the start of the year. It seems like a lifetime ago (well getting on for 20 years) when I was Head Coach for working with the Northern Zone Topper Squad, indeed it was great when the sailors stopped by to say hello at the Dinghy Show over the past few years. Most are now married with kids of their own.

I missed the 2017 Topper Worlds due to prior comments and in 2018 the World Championships will be in Shenzhen, China, so just like with any major championships I will very shortly be off to test the venue, as well as running several training camps in China.

I will also be producing a Topper Technique video just as I did for the Laser class, just as soon as this busy season starts to calm down a bit. Normally the year after the Olympics is a bit quieter but for some reason that doesn't seem to have happened this Olympic cycle!

My Topper sailors

Jon Emmett has over 20 years of coaching experience from grass roots to Olympic Gold.