L-R: Royal Geelong Yacht Club commodore Roger Bennett, Western Heights College students Julian Couch, Isaac Jeffrey Bedggood, and Chloe Stokoe, joined by GeelongPort marketing coordinator Samantha Marnell. Photo: CHARLIE YOUNG

AN EXCITING new partnership aimed at getting Geelong-based students into sailing as an extra-curricular activity, at no additional cost, has been announced.

The new program, which will be officially launched at a students vs teacher sailing race event on Friday, May 17, is being facilitated by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) and GeelongPort.

RGYC commodore Roger Bennett said the program aims to break down barriers to the sport by introducing local public school students to the basics of sailing, and translating skills learnt to real-life scenarios.

“In an age where extracurricular activities are crucial for holistic development, we believe that every student should have the chance to experience the joys and challenges of sailing,”

Mr Bennett said.

“Sailing has often been perceived as exclusive or difficult to access.

“Our partnership with GeelongPort aims to dismantle these barriers, ensuring that sailing becomes an inclusive activity open to all.”

L-R: Western Heights College students Julian Couch, Chloe Stokoe, GeelongPort marketing coordinator Samantha Marnell, Royal Geelong Yacht Club Commodore Roger Bennett, and student Isaac Jeffrey Bedggood.

Mr Bennett said sailing can foster a wide range of skills, such as teamwork, self-confidence, communication, leadership, problem

solving and resilience, and build on important life skills.

The program is also expected to provide a raft of mental and physical health benefits, allowing students to learn in nature, engage in physical activity, and provide social opportunities and connections to the region’s leading yacht club.

GeelongPort CEO Brett Winter said it has been encouraging to see schools such as Western Heights College and Northern Bay College express interest in participating.

“Schools often don’t have the budget for students to take part in water-based activities,” Mr Winter said.

“This program gives local students an opportunity to get out on our spectacular waterfront, enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of sailing and create social connections.

“Corio Bay plays an important role in Geelong’s broader economy and sailing is a really great springboard into the wider maritime and logistics industries.”

The program will be run throughout Term 2 and Term 4 this year.