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Outperform rival dinghy programs

  •   best practice

  •   long term membership retention

  •   centre of excellence for sailors

  •   blue sky development for coaches and sailors

  •   lowest marginal cost, operating surplus, accountability

a better way for clubs to engage families & local communities in sailing





SLM began a successful trial in 2002 to reverse the long-term membership decline that was endemic at sailing clubs. A general malaise was preventing sailors from properly enjoying the sport in Australia and around the world was exposed when a small micro-club with few resources and no financial support outperformed cross town rivals. SLM success story went on to support successful programs around Australia. 

By adapting to the methodology sailors and coaches enjoyed a broader and deeper version of sailing program development over a longer time frame while clubs gained long-term memberships. Programs that operated at micro, large marina in regional and city centres around Australia benefited unaffected by geography or circumstance. Programs demonstrated functionality with shoe-string or big budgets, at small and large clubs alike. All clubs reported significant improvements in retention by historical levels, demonstrably similar gains in the standards of sailing. 

Well known participants proudly write about their coaching and sailing journeys in pages below, about their programs, world and Olympic champions, national and Olympic coaches. When a sailing community unlocks potential, we generate satisfaction, enjoyment and pride in our sport, a sustainable future for our clubs. We can't see SLM but that is what it does.

The problem for long-term retention that began with one design dinghies 40+ years ago has confounded sailing. Simple mapping can demonstrate a mindboggling problem that differs from other sports. Being too complex for normal planning and control, the problem becomes too much for a coach or club administration. Counterintuitively ideas borrowed from industry and other sports are unsuitable, causing people to flow out of the sport rather than in. Consequently, all the experience and coaching effort in the world is inefficient and being wasted, well-resourced programs are squandered, hopes and dreams are dashed. Despite that sailing is duty bound to continue trying.

The SLM solution is in its state-of-the-art behavioural science methodology that automates benefits to all stakeholders while coaches and sailors continuously improve over ten-year time frame. The program uses learning and a unique broad-based/long-term curriculum adaptable to all classes of dinghy sailing. The curriculum is compliant with and stretches well beyond mainstream. Coaches and supporters who support a 5year growth forecast, have the tools to be accountable. The program assures Club and community relations with the potential for corporate and government sponsors. Every stakeholder is a winner, the program functions without administration, it competes on quality, marginal cost, growth and retention.

Planning is not required, organisers merely adjust routine with commonly available resources. The choice between success and disappointment is a small change to coaching practice. 


A resurgence in sailing as a highly valued sport generated by stronger sailing clubs with active sailing programs and functional community relationships.

  • SLM methodology

  • Start-up and operation using cash flows, operating surpluses and sponsorships

  • Online tools, program curriculum, coaching support and accountability

  • Usage of tools to compete effectively with rival sporting codes and with other sailing programs on quality, growth, retention and lower marginal cost

  • Usage of tools to build community support around small, large, regional club programs anywhere


 cornerstone to an Active Sailing Program, a busier club environment 


Proposal documentation adapted to club circumstance for management consideration.  


Advice to implement SLM Dinghy Training & Development necessarily starting with a small coaching group who begin with children aged 8-10 and an SLM curriculum. The coaching group develop competent sailors progress in pools through junior, youth and adult stages.

Advice is available to the coaching group to apply themselves to the operating system to generate support and long-term retention. Coaching group performance improves through three stages of development.

As the SLM Active Sailing Program generates dinghy membership growth it will form a new relationship with the local community, increasing the demand for fleet maintenance, social and sailing activities.

Guidance is available, club administration is not suited to rapid membership growth or an active dinghy sailing program support. To support increasing activity and to avoid constraining or collapsing growth, administration of club services "must" change to a self-help/self-organisation model.


Program proposal documentation is complimentary. Fee for services is pre-paid annually or as required.

Sail Boats


The SLM system is an amazing tool for sailing programs looking to turn their sailors into lifelong members of the sport. The program uses time-tested ideas with modern learning organisation principles to ensure sailors, coaches and clubs all benefit.
With a clear structure, open communication and high enrolment of all members and volunteers in an SLM program, great results can and have been achieved.
Don has created a methodology that not only showcases his passion for the continual development of clubs and community, but also enhances coaching effectiveness, and steers members into being lifelong contributors into the sport."     
 Ryan Palk - Sail Change

 "The SLM structure had a massive impact on my sailing career. When I moved to Perth I had no structure in my training and coming into a club that was run with this program accelerated my learning immensely and put me on the right pathway to reach my goals. Without it, my whole sailing experience would have been very different and I doubt I would have come as far as I have.   
Luke Elliott Sailing

Image by Brett Jordan


Don Elks

Perth, Western Australia

Tel:  0418116179

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