closing the gap

Eduardo Sylvestre, Brazilian sailing coach, PE teacher and World Sailing regional development co-ordinator for South America writes about transforming lives…

As World Sailing coach working on sailing development and having been involved with the Emerging Nations Program (ENP) for the past three years on two continents, America and Africa, it is easy to see the impact that our programmes are having in transforming the lives of both sailors and coaches.

Felipe Andre is one of thousands of youngsters – many of them talented and all of them enthusiastic – to have now benefited from the ENP, which must surely stand as one of the governing body’s most important and in the long term most influential achievements to date

In 2015 I first met Felipe Andre, a young sailor from Angola. A tall, timid teenager who was having his first ever formal coaching classes, learning upwind theory, trimming, sports psychology and boathandling. He was eager to learn and fast on the water, faster than everyone else in the clinic in Maputo, Mozambique.

When I saw him in Langkawi, Malaysia for the Youth Worlds the same year he was thrilled, and knew that without the ENP program he wouldn’t have been able even to participate in such an event. I was excited to see him and work with him again.

It was a great challenge for him competing against the best young sailors in the world. At the end of the championship he finished 40th out of 66th sailors – he was extremely disappointed.

Read on.