New Go Sailing & Boating program begins to deliver benefits
At the top of the Bay, a young Polish woman who settled in Melbourne three years ago for the second time is making a big difference to the standard of racing at Port Melbourne Yacht Club.
In 2004 as a twenty one year old, Zuza Kosowski (pictured above) walked into the Club in response to a local press advertisement the Club had run calling for volunteers to help conduct their on water racing.
Zuza is part of a new breed of more than fifty volunteers who have been recruited and are now being trained by Yachting Victoria as a part of the new Go Sailing and Boating program. They are needed to meet the growing demand for qualified race offices to run club racing and next summers raft of major international regattas that will be staged on Port Phillip.
Ms Kosowski, who lives in Clayton and works as an industrial research chemist at Monash University Clayton says, “When I saw the advertisement inviting volunteers I thought to myself this would enable me to meet some new people and gain some additional skills.
”I had only limited sailing experience in Poland but I thought that my skills may be something the Club could use.
“I have huge love of the water and have discovered race management gives me a pure adrenalin rush,” she adds.
In the three years since becoming a volunteer, Ms Kosowski who is now 24 has moved through the ranks at the Club to now be a vital member of the team.
During this time the Club has provided her with a wide range of training including race management, national power boat handling certificate, safety boat endorsement, first aid and marine radio.
Now a major “Cog”
PMYC’s Vice Commodore Walter Edgar who manages the volunteer program has been her guiding mentor.
He said, “Zuza came to us as a student and I wasn’t sure she would go the distance as our volunteer work is very demanding. It requires her to be at the club at 9am for the Saturday afternoon races and not finishing until all boats are back on the beach and the results are posted late in the day.
“But she has excelled in all she has done and recently she completed the Go Sailing race officer training and has qualified and making her the Club’s youngest female ever to become a major “Cog” in our race management team.”
In addition Zuza has also introduced a number of new volunteer members including her fiancée Angelo Rengarajah who has completed a race officers course, and her younger sister Natalia who is cutting her teeth on the rescue boat.
She has also recently begun learning to sail a Puffin Pacer which is a small off the beach two person dinghy.
Wants to run bigger events
Ms Kosowski says, “My “volunteer work has exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect it to be so demanding but I find it’s a complete break from the rest of my life especially I’ve become a senior volunteer. The more I get to know about sailing the bigger the sport becomes.
“Most of all I want to make a difference so that things on the water don’t fall apart. But at the end of the day I’m out there to have fun.
“It has made me much more confident in my self and the practical skills I’ve learnt travel back into my everyday life and career.”
Sometime in the future she says, “I want to run some bigger events like a state title or an international championship.”
To this end Yachting Victoria’s international race officer and race management training manager Ross Wilson (who conducted the recent Go Sailing and Boating race officers course that Zuza successfully completed) says,
“She certainly has got what it takes to achieve her regatta goals, but because she needs more experience she first has to run more club events to learn how to build and develop her team.”
Go Sailing & Boating program
The $400,000 State Government funded Go Sailing & Boating program is available to all clubs at no cost and it is designed to establish a stronger grass roots base for the future growth of member clubs and the sport through state wide training of race officers, instructors and coaches.
It is being managed by Yachting Victoria whose CEO, Ross Kilborn said, “This program is about growing our grass roots capacity first to develop sailing for planned future success through an expanded foundation of increased skills, more qualified volunteers like Ms Kosowski who is an outstanding example of how new people being attracted to the sport can deliver major new benefits.”
YV’s Go Sailing & Boating program manager Johnny Rodgers says, “I have received over 40 expressions of interest from the clubs that want to be part of the program and the stage one training is now underway.”
Port Melbourne Yacht Club has embarked on a local program to attract new residents who have moved into the area who want to get out on the water as a volunteer or sailor to come down to the club on Saturdays.
Vice Commodore Edgar says, “Through these ads we have been very successful attracting a new wave of volunteers most of whom have had little or no sailing experience.”
Media: Mike Sabey – Sabey & Associates Ph 9533 8030 0418 354 732