New pathway routes and opportunities offered as ‘Project Theia’ launched

As part of RYA Northern Ireland’s five-year Strategy “Navigating the Future” our mission is to support participation across all aspects of our sport.

“Project Theia” is the beginning of a Pilot Project developed by the Pathways Officer, Kate Broderick. The project aims to shine upon pathway routes and opportunities within the world of sailing. With “Re-Imagined Pathways” embedded in our strategy, Project Theia aims to inspire and develop sailors across Northern Ireland.

The project also follows independent research by Emma Vickers which revealed that women found it difficult to engage with sailing and often dropped out of the sport quickly. A large part of this project has been shaped and designed by feedback we have received through this research. 

As we look to the year ahead, we want people who are involved in all aspects of our sport to be able to see the pathways that sailing can offer them and embrace the opportunities that sailing provides.

The Project name “Theia” is based on the Goddess of Sight & Vision in Greek mythology. It encourages additional opportunities for people involved in in the sport across Northern Ireland, making pathways more accessible across our sport.

Project Theia – what does it stand for?

  • T – Training and Racing Opportunities
  • H – Heighten support for Women & Girls + Disabled People
  • E – Educational opportunities across all aspects of the Sport
  • I – Inspiring people to Develop & Progress in their chosen Pathway
  • A – Achieving Goals & Celebrating Success

Project Theia consists of four key areas within the first year. These are shown below

Logo for project Theia

Kate’s experiences 

Pathways Officer, Kate Broderick added: “Since starting this role in July, it has been quite the journey to pull this project together and I feel really excited about getting ‘Project Theia’ up and running for 2024.

“Reflecting back to when I was in my teenage years, I wasn’t aware of or could see the pathways that sailing could offer me at the time. Growing up in the sport my thoughts over the years have been along the lines of:

“Maybe I could go down the performance route? But I know I would really struggle. I think I would enjoy double handed pathways more, I enjoy sailing with a partner and I’m not confident at helming when racing. I’ve been sailing my RS200 for a while now but there is no one my age to compete against, no training offered in double handers and my helm has told me they are dropping out of the sailing to pursue a different hobby.

“I’m starting to really enjoy instructing; I get to work during the summer with my friends and I’m developing my teaching skills. I might try and go for my Senior Instructor qualification, but not sure I’m good enough as I’m up against squad sailors who have much better boat handling technique than I do.”

“I never imagined myself being the chief senior instructor at my club, I really enjoy this, and I have a great instructor team working with me. I also feel valued by my training principle and the training committee”

“Dad I’ve been offered a job at RYA Scotland, I can’t wait to start!”

Pathway opportunities today

You can see through the years the thought process I have had as a sailor in the circuit, then diving into instructing and finally ending up with two careers within the governing body. I am grateful for all the learning experiences I have developed at each chapter, but I do reflect and think “I wish there was more opportunity for education across different aspects of the sport, as well as a double handed pathway which offers training and a clearer understanding of what routes there are in sailing.”

This is where Project Theia comes in. I knew I wanted this project to offer more education around the pathways in Sailing to enable people of all ages to develop their skills. This in turn bounces back to our strategic aims of participation within the sport and re-imagined pathways. Let’s highlight the routes sailing can offer people, inspiring them to participate, develop their skills and take the leap of faith to try something new or jump back into their chosen pathway after maybe taking a break from the sport.

With the four key focus areas, I hope that this will encourage clubs to try new ideas, think outside the box and want to collaborate with RYA Northern Ireland.

Keep an eye out on our social media and website, as we will be announcing further details of applications towards our Coaching pool for this project and to work in collaboration with the Pathways Officer (Kate) and Workforce Officer (Mary).

To find out more details about “Project Theia” check out our supporting documents below. Any questions or queries please contact the Pathways Officer –

Support Documents 

Women on Water Development Programme Support Document 

Sailability Support Document

Team Racing Programme Support Document 

Development Academy Support Document