We are the UK’s oldest and largest sail training charity, but becoming a sailor is not the only outcome. We are a youth development charity that helps young people redefine their horizons through adventure learning at sea.

We take young people aged 12-25 on residential youth sailing voyages on board iconic yachts. Out on the water, under sail, they learn lessons that set them up for life and help them realise their own potential.

To support our mission, we also run a programme of adventurous voyages for adults that directly subsidise our highly effective Youth Development Programme.

We have a vision of society where the exclusion of young people and lack of opportunities for them are things of the past.

Together with our supporters, we are doing everything we can to help young people from all over the UK stand taller than ever before.


Sailing with us helps young people break their ordinary routines – in fact it takes them as far away from them as you can imagine and lets them explore uncharted possibilities. Here we focus on what they can do, not what they can’t.

We bring together crews of different social backgrounds and nationalities to promote understanding and friendship onboard.

Beyond the confines of traditional classrooms, land-based youth group activities and 4G signal, these young people gain a sense of self-belief that can only be born through adventure.

“After 20 years in youth work, I thought I’d seen it all, but we built a level of trust and engagement with the young people during the voyage that would have taken 6 months to achieve on land. Within 4 months of the voyage 8 of the 9 had gone into jobs, apprenticeships or college. Amazing!” - Colin, Senior Youth Manager


Our youth sailing voyages are truly life-changing experiences. They encourage teamwork and participation in an occasionally tough, but safe, environment: through storms, wet weather and living in very close quarters.

We equip them with what they need to get the best out of themselves - confidence, social skills and leadership, all on board one of our six vessels.

Whether they're navigating during particularly rough conditions or baking for a crew of nine in a tiny galley kitchen, our youth crew learn life skills that can’t be taught on land, where it can be all too easy just to walk away! And they make lasting friendships in the process.


Our voyages are well respected by educational professionals and youth workers alike. For example, the outcome of a 2-year project for 80 unemployed young people saw an exceptional 97% of participants going into employment, education or training within 6 months of the project’s completion. Our voyages were seen as the key catalyst for improving their skills and attitudes.

“The experience could not be bettered as an educative means of forming aspirational ambition amongst young people. I have focused upon Pupil Premium youngsters as Tall Ships represents the most accessible and cost-effective means of delivering truly adventurous training in safety, to these pupils from otherwise impoverished homes.” - Steve, Teacher

Our supporters have given over 120,000 young people this opportunity through the years. The youth sailing voyages were particularly meaningful for our young people with disabilities, and our young people who have been marginalised by society.

Of the young people who sailed with us in our 18/19 programme:

- 78% were disadvantaged or disabled

- 95% believe they now work better in teams

- 92% said they are now able to manage their feelings better

- 95% believe their communication skills have improved

- 92% felt a real boost to their confidence and self-esteem

- 88% said they we better at solving problems

- 99% enjoyed the voyage and had fun!

On average 20% of young people from each voyage receive a recommendation to train and sail again as a member of the volunteer crew.

* Based on the 90% of young people who completed the survey


Our young people come from all over the UK and from all backgrounds. The vast majority of them are either disadvantaged or disabled.

We have worked with many youth groups over the years. These include Scouts, Girlguides, Schools, The Rank Foundation, Special Needs Schools, Youth Offending Teams, Young Carers, Police and The Prince's Trust. The benefit of working in this way is that is that the young people will be receiving additional mentoring outside of our work.  

We accommodate those with special educational needs and disabilities; from varying degrees of learning difficulty, to fine motor coordination challenges, to  social interaction challenges. 

Most importantly, none of the young people that come on our youth voyages with us need to have ever even set foot on a boat before.


We need your support to grow and reach out to more young people than ever before. Please help them today by donating your time or money to help transform their lives.

Read Josh's incredible story below.