Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will present the accolade next Wednesday

A unique Southampton project that enables people with hearing difficulties to experience the thrill and freedom of sailing has won an award.

Sea-Hear-Discover, which is the Discovery Sailing Project’s new initiative, scooped the 2013 Haven Academy Award.

The initiative received more than 71% of the national vote from the public who chose their winner from three initiatives to ‘Get Britain Boating’.

The Sea-Hear-Discover team will receive their award from legendary round-the-world yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston at a presentation next Wednesday, 24 April, at 1pm at their operating base in Universal Marina, Southampton.

Sir Robin said: ‘This is a really deserving project because I remember, when I was young, how difficult it was to get my first experience of sailing.

‘This really meets the objective to get more people boating by reaching out to people who may otherwise never get the opportunity.’

Ally Bowles, Sea-Hear-Discover’s project leader, said: ‘Every year we provide hundreds of disadvantaged youngsters the chance of ‘hands on’ sailing on one of our voyages.

‘The support of the Haven Academy this year will allow us to provide new focus on people with hearing difficulties to offer them a life-changing experience.’

The award is sponsored by boat insurance specialists Haven Knox-Johnston who will partner Sea-Hear-Discover throughout the 2013 season providing support up to a value of £5,000 to help meet the project’s ‘wish list’ of needs.

This includes fitting boats with hearing loops and equipment to help hearing impaired crew to meeting berthing costs where the boats are participating in sailing events.