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Start Yachting

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Up to £280

Voyage highlights

Ideal starter voyage sailing on board a 72ft Challenger yacht
Take part in the official Round the Island Race 2024
Achieve your RYA Start Yachting certificate and complete the residential section of your DofE Gold Award
Experience new adventures, make new friends and develop life skills
No sailing experience necessary

This year we are entering the Round the Island Race, which attracts more than 1,400 boats and around 15,000 sailors each year, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world, and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK.

Set sail on this seven-day adrenaline-driven voyage along the south coast with Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT), which culminates in entering the official Round the Island Race and following the 50-nautical-mile course round the Isle of Wight.

Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the fleet races westabout, to The Needles, round St Catherine’s Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.

After a week of training, together with your crew, you will cross the start line at Cowes in eleven separate groups, starting every 10 minutes from 08:00 until 09:30, and head in a westerly direction towards Yarmouth. Your next challenge will be to pass round the Needles Lighthouse, along the south-west coast of the island to St. Catherine’s Point and then up across Sandown Bay to round the Bembridge Ledge Buoy.

Before heading back to Portsmouth, you will then make your way either side of No Man’s Land Fort and across Osborne Bay to the finish line back at Cowes.

Together with like-minded individuals, step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in ocean exploration, sailing on board an iconic 72ft Challenger yacht.

To join this TSYT ‘Voyage of Exploration’ you do not require any prior sailing experience as this is the first stage of our three-voyage journey of Exploration, Empowerment and Leadership.

Throughout the adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to learn new skills while developing your confidence and self-esteem and building your social and communication skills.

You can also use the voyage to complete the residential section of your Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Gold Award and achieve your RYA Start Yachting certificate: the first step on your sailing qualifications journey.

Places you'll visit

You’ll sail through the Solent and then along the stunning south coast. Be sure to have your camera to hand, as you may spot dolphins, seals and fin whales along the way.

Likely stopovers include CowesPoole  and Weymouth, with plenty of time to explore ashore.

Takeaways from your Voyage of Exploration

New skills. Racing experience. Increased confidence and self-esteem. New friendships.


Throughout the week, you’ll experience steering a yacht, sail handling, racing techniques, ropework as well as learning how to keep safe onboard.  If conditions permit, you’ll also get to do some night sailing too.

We divide the crew into two teams (watches) – traditionally, known as Port and Starboard. In your watches, you’ll take it in turns to be involved in all aspects of sailing the Challenger from deck duties and maintenance to cooking and  cleaning.

Each crew member will receive a personal assessment covering their leadershipteamwork and communication skills— a great addition to your CV.

Further information

The Skipper will determine the final route depending on weather and other variables.

Your Skipper can also recommend you for our volunteer crew training programme, if they feel you have the skills and attributes that we’re looking for. You can speak to your TSYT crew if this is something you’d be interested in and you’d like to find out more.

All meals on board are included.


You’ll hopefully get the chance to complete the RYA Start Yachting course while you’re on board.

The RYA Start Yachting syllabus includes:

  • Sea terms and parts of a boat, rigging and sails
  • Sail handling
  • Ropework
  • Personal safety equipment
  • Man overboard recovery
  • Clothing and emergency equipment
  • Rules of the ‘road’ (at sea)

The cost of your RYA Start Yachting certificate is included in the price.

RYA logbooks are available for purchase on board at a cost of £6 (Skippers are only able to take cash for this).

Duke of Edinburgh's Award

All our voyages of four nights or more qualify for the residential section of the DofE Gold Award.

Please let our Reservations Team know before sailing if you want to use the voyage for this.​​​

TS Challenger Current Navy 1



Vessel Details

handbook challenger


Challenger Handbook


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