Latest News

Stepping up in sailing

Stepping up in sailing

There is a new cutting edge sailing program for those who aspire to be more competent club racers, compete at State, National or World Championships, be selected to the Queensland or Australian Sailing Team, or even to become Olympic champions.


Southport Yacht Club (SYC) has started its Sailing Performance Program early this year, with Olympic Gold Medalist Mathew Belcher OAM, as the lead mentor. The Program is athlete-focused, and is using the experience that Mathew has gained from being on the Australian Sailing Team for the past 12 years.


This is the first time SYC has put together a wholistic program that encourages even the youngest sailors at the beginning of their sailing journey, to strive to achieve their own potential through the stepped program. SYC has had High Performance Teams in the past that only focused on the top performers. This year’s Performance Program not only looks after Sailing Team member Harry at 8 years old, who has only been sailing for four months, but also High Performance team member Tom at 15 years old, who has been sailing for six years and competing in World Sailing events.


There are currently 38 participants in the Program, in three teams: Sailing Team, Performance Sailing Team, and High Performance Sailing Team. The participants are mentored by a team of dedicated, highly skilled on-water coaches, using the session plans designed by Mathew Belcher.


The Sailing Team has 18 participants, from 8- to 14-year-olds. In this team, participants are those who have completed their junior basics course and are looking to take the next step with their sailing. This team focuses on boat handling and building confidence, and training the sailors to compete in junior club racing.


The Performance Sailing Team has 17 participants, from 8- to 16-year-olds. This team is composed of sailors who are now confident in sailing their boat, completing more advanced drills and training techniques. The training gives them everything they need to compete more effectively in club racing and develop skills to start competing in regattas, including State and National titles.


The High Performance Sailing Team has three participants, all in their teens. By invitation only, this intensive program provides every opportunity for sailors with racing experience to reach their own goals. Each of the participants in this team is personally mentored by Mathew Belcher.


Sailing team members have the option to lease a boat from the Club or bring their own. The Club has ten Optimists and five O’Pen BICs available for lease for a term. However, members transitioning from Sailing team to Performance team are encouraged to purchase their own boats before moving onward. Performance and High Performance team members all have their own boats.


The Program acknowledges that each team member has different needs. Thus, the Program design focuses on the individual. The Sailing Performance Program is a long-term commitment for SYC and Mathew Belcher, with a view to producing exceptional sailors.


The Program runs for four terms, from 23 January to 8 December 2017.


For more information on the Program, visit