In its first major initiative to broaden the appeal of sailing in the country, the fledgling Cambodian Sailing Federation, in conjunction with the sport’s international ruling body World Sailing, will hold a five-day Level 1 technical course for potential coaches starting on Wednesday in the coastal town of Kep.

World Sailing expert Joe Chan and Singapore’s national windsurfing coach Joshua Choo will direct the course, which is open to entry level participation oriented towards practical and theoretical sessions aimed to impart skills to help would-be coaches turn novices into independent sailors.

As president of CSF and vice president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Gordon Tang, who is himself a competitive sailor, pointed out, this will be a significant starting point for the Federation, which came into being less than three years ago, to groom better and more competent sailors who can match their skills with the best in the sport.

As many as 28 participants will be involved in this structured approach to take them through World Sailing’s coaching framework, connect them to sailing initiatives with the help of other partners and guide them to sail boat initiatives.

While most of the participants for the course are Ream Navy Base personnel, there are also young enthusiasts who have been sailing on their own for some time.

Some members of Kep’s Knai Bang Chatt Sailing Club are also in attendance.

“After this course we can hopefully coach eager sailors the proper way and safety care, besides the maintenance of equipment,” said Meng Wang, who is closely associated with the Singapore Sailing Federation and is an advisor to the CSF.

‘One huge step’

The Level 1 course candidates are required to be competent sailors who wish to pass on their passion, knowledge and practical experience to anyone keen on taking up sailing.

Some of the skills required for this course include sailing a triangular course, using all points of sail, sailing a tight circle, person overboard recovery, sailing backwards, mooring, rudderless sailing and leaving and returning to a beach, pontoon or jetty.

The training regimen has been crafted carefully and in a sequential fashion to enable learners to get onto the water, control their boat, and sail towards or away from the wind and return to shore in a moderate breeze.

The land drills will deal with appropriate demonstrations with the use of simulators to help participants handle learning, teaching and managing capsizing.

With the main aim of the course being the introduction of beginners to sailing, the federation is attaching great significance to this pathway to prosperity for the sport.

Sailing was only introduced to the Kingdom on the competitive stage during last August’s SEA Games in Malaysia, where three Cambodian sailors took part.

As one CSF official succinctly put it, the aim is to “SELL” – safe, enjoyable learning for life – sailing, and this level 1 course is one huge step towards that goal.