Sailing.Dog Interview with Mr David Franks
David is the long-standing Fleet Captain of the Cowes Etchells Fleet. He is also the founder and main driving force behind the most successful youth sailing operation that I have seen. Ok, ok, there is of course the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's famous youth development scheme, as well as hugely successful operations at clubs in Australia (such as CYCA, Royal Sydney YS and Royal Prince Alfred YC). But where this one differs is that it is totally outside of a Yacht Club or Association structure. It started as one man's desire to want to build a fleet, at the same time as wanting to give something back to the sport of sailing and assist youth sailors transition into keelboats. David is also one of the most generous people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. When my family moved to the Isle of Wight after the 2013 America's Cup, David went out of his way to welcome us and offered all sorts of assistance as both Kate and I established businesses in sailing. After settling in the man-cave, we chatted about his late entry into the sport of sailing and his path into the very competitive Etchells class. He also laid out an effective "how-to" with regard to building up a fleet of one-design racers that had basically lapsed. David also outlines what is needed for a youth program to prosper (great people and determination - no surprises there) and how it all works. At a time where every sport is looking for ways to retain and inspire young people, this interview is pure gold. I hope you enjoy the listen as much as I did the chat.