The Go Sail project is underway at the 1851 Trust. This innovative project provides 14-16 year old students living in the Solent area new experiences both on and off the water. Funded by Sport England, the project includes free sailing opportunities coupled with a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education programme.
Go Sail has been developed by the 1851 Trust, the official charity of Land Rover BAR, led by Sir Ben Ainslie. The 1851 Trust works to enable, engage and encourage young people from a wide demographic to not only experience sailing but also to understand the role of STEM subjects and careers in the real world, in particular, the exciting America’s Cup.
CEO of the1851 Trust, Ben Cartledge said: ‘Go Sail is a really important initiative for the 1851 Trust, as it combines exciting STEM education sessions with an on-the-water sailing experience. As the America’s Cup in Bermuda is fast approaching, the excitement for the British contender is growing and we hope the Go Sail programme will help young people relate to the challenges the team face and see the types of exciting careers that could be open to them in both STEM and sailing.’
Held at the Tech Deck and Education Centre at Land Rover BAR’s Portsmouth base, the students learn first-hand about the technological developments behind the British America’s Cup team. They also take part in an interactive workshop, designing their own sails and testing them in a wind tunnel. The students then enjoy an afternoon of sailing delivered by Portsmouth Watersports Centre and UKSA, the charity and maritime training centre.
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Kirsty Momsby a teacher from the Hayling College described the day as ‘A fantastic experience; it challenged our Year 9 pupils. It’s opened their eyes to other careers and helped them link what they do at school to the real world.’
Teacher Sally Price added: ‘What a fantastic opportunity. It’s been great to get the pupils out of their comfort zone, they’ve also had to work outside of their friendship groups and they’ve just got on with it, which is great for their social skills.’
In the coming months 2,000 children from schools in the Solent area will participate in the Go Sail project. The young people will then be encouraged to participate in sailing in their local areas during the school holidays and will be able to apply for a place on a four-day RYA Stage One and Two sailing course at a significantly reduced cost.
Josh Hobbs, age 14, a student at the Hayling College said: ‘The Tech Deck was a great experience. We learned how the foils work, made our own sails, had a competition – it was good fun! We also heard about the experience of the people and how many jobs it takes to makes the boat.’
Fellow student Josh Olchin added: ‘It was my first time sailing and it was brilliant. I really enjoyed the tacking. I’d definitely recommend it and I’d do it again it I got the opportunity.‘
UKSA’s CEO Ben Willows said: ‘We are delighted to be delivering the sailing opportunities to students in the Solent area for the 1851 Trust. As a youth charity and sail training provider, we recognise that it is vital to offer the young people not only an introduction to sailing but also a pathway to continue, with the aim of making sailing a sport for life.’