As it celebrates the 10-year anniversary and lasting legacy of London 2012, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) is also looking to the future as it seeks to appoint a new Chief Executive.
The Academy first opened in 2005 and in 2012 served as the sailing venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Ten years on, the legacy from the games has paved the way for the sailing academy’s growth.
WPNSA has close links with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) working with them in many significant events such as the Sailing World Cup and Youth National Championships. In addition, WPNSA is the training base for the British Sailing Team.
The driving force and focus at this multifaceted business are the sailing events, but to sustain its facilities the WPNSA has several other revenue streams – including squad training through the RYA and class associations, hosting other sporting events, meetings facilities such as conferences and corporate days, and many fun functions such as wedding and awards.
“WPNSA is where Ben Ainslie achieved a record that will probably never be beaten in terms of Olympic success,” says John Scott, WPNSA Deputy Chair. “That put sailing on the map. But it’s the excellence of the venue – the conditions and ability to offer such a range of sailing experiences – that make it a truly world-class facility.”
WPNSA’s current CEO, Peter Allam, agrees. “The physical legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was the development of the site, which added considerable value to what the Academy could continue to do, without significantly increasing overheads,” he says.
In fact, the venue has continued to play a key part in Britain’s Olympic ambitions. “Portland and the WPNSA is increasingly the epicentre of not only the British Sailing Team but also British Youth Sailing,” adds Ian Walker, RYA’s Director of Racing. “Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay offer a wide range of conditions and these, coupled with world-class facilities, are tough to match anywhere in the world.”
Now, the venue is busier than ever, due in part to other important legacies. “We can’t operate without our fantastic volunteers, whose interest was instigated by the Games,” explains Peter. “Many of them didn’t have previous experience on the water – yet they are still here, volunteering, driving RIBs, and helping with safety or race management.”
“The fact volunteers are continuing is an illustration of how much the WPNSA is appreciated in the area,” adds John. “The centre is principally a performance venue, providing opportunities for world-class sailing, but is also rooted in the community. The Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre is based here, as are Sailability activities for disabled communities and watersports activities. The local area as a whole has prospered too, thanks to close collaboration with other local organisations.”
Exciting opportunity ahead
Peter will step down as CEO this October and the search has now begun to appoint a successor. “The challenge has been to secure the site so we could build on the legacy,” he says. “Thanks to hardworking staff, volunteers and the board, we can maintain it as a world-class facility, and a place that people want to visit. I’m privileged to have been in this job for almost 10 years.
“But with fresh blood there’s exciting potential to be realised, building on everything we’ve secured over the last few years. In the future I’ll return as a volunteer.
“Volunteering is essential, not just to the Academy but to the sport in general.”
And Peter’s not the only one who can’t resist the lure of the WPNSA. “Now that I’ve left Olympic sailing, I thought I’d be sailing elsewhere,” says two-time Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott. “But I still migrate back to Weymouth – quite simply it’s where I want to go sailing.”
For a full job description or to arrange and informal discussion with the current CEO, please contact the WPNSA HR team: email@example.com.
To apply, please send a cover letter stating your suitability for the role along with a copy of your CV to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for applications: 28 July 2022
Interviews to be held: from 8 August 2022