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 Weather Day   At the helm  Where shall we sail?

Sail Training is a fun and exciting adventure. Sailing offshore as part of a team that is responsible for the running of the boat will open a whole new world of challenges, skills and discovery. You don’t need any previous sailing experience as the staff on board will teach you everything you need to know.  You will meet new people and work together to set sails, steer, keep watch and even cook. Together you will meet the challenge of the sea.

Find out what Sail Training is all about and watch this 10 minute video courtesy of Sail Training International.

The UK Sail Training fleet is made up of a large variety of boats, from huge square-riggers to small yachts, from 100 year old gaff cutters to modern round-the-world racing yachts. The common link to all of these is that you will be able to experience working, living and sailing together on an offshore adventure. You will need to take responsibility, communicate and work together to ensure a successful journey.  ASTO member organisations provide Sail Training voyages to over 10,000 young people a year, and once you have sailed with us you’ll want to keep coming back for more!

Interested?  Start your adventure here.

Young People -    Want to Sail to Adventure?

Youth Workers -   Why it works for young people

Parents -               Is it safe? Details of Member Organisations.

Volunteers -          Want to help?


2 - 6 heave  Hoisting the sail  Working together

Sail Training is a challenging and fun way to develop self-confidence and change lives. It provides an intense, structured environment with defined boundaries and a clear common purpose: the successful completion of a voyage. Participants learn to manage themselves and interact with others, dramatically boosting their self-awareness and confidence.

There are no contrived situations on a Sail Training voyage: you really do need to work together in order to achieve a successful outcome. In addition, the sheer exhilaration of harnessing the elements engenders enthusiasm and a feeling of achievement.

ASTO has conducted research into the outcomes achieved on a typical Sail Training voyage. A summary of these outcomes is here.

Many successful youth organisations use Sail Training as part of their programme. Amongst others, these include the Wheatsheaf Trust, the Princes Trust, the Scouts and Sea Cadets. Even the NHS have got involved by supporting the Cat Zero programme that has shown exceptional results.

A 10 minute video about the Sail Training experience is here.


As well as a vast amount of anecdotal evidence, several research papers on the effectiveness of Sail Training have been published:

Sail Training outcomes - Summary of findings from ASTO surveys

Outcomes booklet - Further outcomes from surveys and interviews with group leaders

ASTO Theory of Change and measurement framework: how Sail Training brings about outcomes, and tools to measure these. Tools intended for ASTO members to produce their own outcome statistics.

Steering a course towards Eudaimonia:the effects of Sail Training on well-being and character. Eric Fletcher and Heather Prince, Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 2017.  Summary and full paper.

Facilitation in Sail Training: Observing facilitator behaviour as a contributing factor in the development of young people. Rebecca Hind, University of Edinburgh. Summary

Enhancing resilience in youth through a 10-day developmental voyage, Hayhurst, Hunter, Kafka and Boyes. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 2013 Full Paper


In 2016, ASTO and STI collaborated in a literature review into longer term outcomes:

Protocol (details of which studies the literature review included)

The relationship between short-term outcomes and long-term outcomes produced by outdoor adventure programmes: A rapid review

University of Edinburgh: 

The Characteristics and Value of the Sail Training Experience (summary)

The full research paper can be found here

Jessica Roberts (unpublished University of Southampton 4th year medical student project)

Sailing as an intervention to enhance psychosocial wellbeing in children and young adults treated for cancer

Luke McCarthy (Dissertation for Msc in Youth Participation):

Comparing Sail Training and landbased youth development activities

Young Endeavour Youth Scheme & The University of Sydney:

Sailing into the Future

Links to more research can be found on the pages of Sail Training International


Here are some of the results from people and organisations that use Sail Training:

Occupational Therapy Article by Rachel Wright, courtesy of COT/OTnews                
Cat Zero news article
BBC radio item following up with young people that have sailed with Cat Zero
Testimonial from the Wheatsheaf Trust
Results and outcomes from Motiv8 in Partnership with Hampshire Police
Testimonials from group leaders and trainees of their experiences whilst sailing on board "Tectona"

Testimonials from trainees on board Alba Endeavour and Explorer

Westward Quest


Sail Training is always on the look-out for people with the right skills and attitude to ensure the continued provision of high quality voyages. Our Member organisations are always interested in hearing from anyone with a real interest in the welfare of young people, whether or not you have sailing qualifications.

Alternatively, you can help ASTO and UK Sail Training by making a donation via the 'Donate online' link on the left of this page. Your donation will go directly towards supporting our members and events. Alternatively why not support ASTO and enjoy a good read at the same time by purchasing a Hammond Innes book: with royalties going to ASTO this is a great way to support Sail Training.

As with many charity-based activities there is a need for full-time, part-time, volunteer, paid, specialist and general staff. Volunteers often sail as a member of the Afterguard - the professional crew of the vessel - but don't let a lack of qualifications deter you, as you won't necessarily need to be a qualified professional seafarer.
There are opportunities for volunteering or employment in a wide variety of situations. Organisations require cooks, engineers and supervising staff onboard their vessels and of course an army of shore-side support volunteers for a wide range of roles. Office assistance, re-fit work, marketing and fundraising are a few areas where your skills could be put to good use and may also result in the opportunity of a voyage.

But, before you clamber for the phone to claim that free holiday, think seriously about what you can bring to the organisation of your choice - remember, the organisation is looking for support. Consider what you can offer that will help to ensure the continued successful delivery of this life-changing experience for generations to come.

Sail to Adventure  Land Ahoy?  Sailing joy

It’s just before six in the morning and you’ve been at the helm for the last hour, steering a 60 foot Tall Ship into the sunrise. You can smell cooking from down below and your lookout has just spotted a pod of dolphins in the distance! The oncoming watch work together to put up more sail and soon you are amongst them.  After watching and calling to the dolphins, you head down below for breakfast, confident that your crew mates will keep the boat safe while you get some well-deserved sleep.


Who would have thought that a week ago you had never set foot on a boat, let alone knew how to sail?  This is what Sail Training is all about – an adventure you will remember for the rest of your life.  To start your own adventure, take a look at these UK Sail Training organisations, or find your nearest by looking at the Members Map.

Find out what Sail Training is all about and watch this 10 minute video courtesy of Sail Training International.

Many of the UK Sail Training fleet may be able to provide bursaries to make your adventure more affordable. Further advice on funding your voyage,

Once you have done some Sail Training, you will want to stay involved. Why not find out about the Youth Council or apply for the International Exchange Scheme?

Are you ready for the adventure

There are several bursary schemes providing support for Sail Training voyages, ensuring that this valuable experience is available to everyone.  All UK Sail Training operators are 'not-for-profit' organisations and most operate their own bursary scheme.  These schemes will vary and details and up-to-date information should be obtained by contacting the organisation you are interested in.  See the links on the right for the full list of Member organisations.

Sources of funding to take part in a Sail Training voyage are:
Own fundraising - see the fundraising factsheet for some ideas
Oman Bursary
The Oman Bursary run by Sail Training International provides up to 500 Euro towards taking part in the Tall Ships Races, for young people aged 15 to 25. Priority is given to young people who have not sailed in Tall Ships Races before. You don't need to book a ship before you apply but if you are hoping to sail on a specific vessel do take a look at their availability and cost. A list of participating vessels is on  Full details of the Oman Bursary are on
The James Myatt Trust exists to help young people aged between 16 and 25 to experience a Sail Training voyage. The voyage must be on a sailing vessel operated by ASTO. The voyages can last between 2 to 14 days.

The trust aims to help young people who really cannot raise enough money to secure a place on a voyage. Details on

How to apply for a James Myatt Trust grant 
The James Myatt Trust need to know about you and your needs so please complete this application form. The James Myatt Trust do expect you to raise some of your own voyage money but hope to be able to help you. They are prepared to fund several individuals in a group if the need is there. Once you have filled in your application form, e-mail it to the Trust Secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Royal Thames Yacht Club Charitable Trust


This charity, set up by members of the Royal Thames Yacht Club, provides funding for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who would not otherwise be able to afford the valuable experience of going to sea as part of a working crew. For further information visit


The Norfolk Boat offer financial help for off-shore Sail Training to young people (12-24) and disabled of any age, who are from Norfolk or the surrounding area. They only use ASTO sailing organisations and pay the organisation direct for the berth fees. The Norfolk Boat help approximately 180 people from the area to sail every year - they are predominantly disadvantaged and disaffected young people. If you live in the Norfolk area please see their Guide to Funding.

Funding for young people from Wales

Separate funding is available if you live in Wales. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for details.

Local Rotary Clubs will often support Sail Training voyages, as will local Sailing and Yacht Clubs. Find out their details and contact them!


Series of quotes and sound-bites for the newsflash section of the template

Spaces available now

Alba crew waving

Click on the picture to find the latest berth availability on Sail Training vessels.

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