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The Duchess of Cambridge launches community sailing projects

by Gabriella Southwell 22 May 2016 23:04 BST 20 May 2016
HRH meets with young people from the Portsmouth Sailing Project © Lloyd Images / Ben Ainslie Racing

On Friday at the Land Rover BAR headquarters in Portsmouth, the team challenging for the America's Cup in Bermuda 2017, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge launched the 1851 Trust's 2016 sailing programme.

The Trust, affiliate charity of Land Rover BAR, has partnered with two of the UK's leading sailing charities, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation and UKSA, to give 3,000 young people from the Portsmouth and Solent area the chance to experience sailing and the benefits and opportunities it can bring.

A unique aspect of the sailing programme is working with sailing clubs and schools to deliver STEMcrew activities as part of the sailing projects, engaging young people in the STEM curriculum in a unique and relevant environment.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge launches the 1851 Trust's 2016 Sailing Projects with the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation and UKSA

The Trust was set up in 2014 soon after four times Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie launched his America's Cup team in order to bring the Americas Cup back to home waters. With support from patrons Sir Ben Ainslie and HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, the Trust works to enable and encourage young people from a wide demographic to engage with sailing and uses the inspiration of the team to deliver STEM education in this unique environment. The Portsmouth Sailing Project, delivered by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation and co-funded by Travis Perkins, will see 1,000 young people aged 9-13 from youth groups and organisations in the Portsmouth area get out on the water for the first time, and provide the opportunity for many of those participants to continue in the sport. Those who wish to take part in the Portsmouth Sailing Project can register online at from Wednesday 1st June.

The Go Sail project, delivered by UKSA and funded by Sport England, will enable 2,000 14-16 years olds from Solent schools to have their first taste of sailing. The programme focusses on retention in sailing, on personal development of young people through the activity, and on career pathways in the marine industry. This project will be launched on 22 June at Land Rover BAR's Base in Portsmouth to local teachers and youth group leaders. For more information please email

In addition to the sailing programmes, the Trust is also developing a digital educational resource for students and teachers. "STEMcrew" will bring STEM subjects to life through a series of curriculum-linked challenges and activities, using Land Rover BAR and the America's Cup Challenge as a mechanism to engage young people in the STEM curricula. STEMcrew will be launched in October 2016.


Sir Keith Mills, 1851 Trust Chairman said "We have a unique opportunity to use the thrill and excitement of the America's Cup to inspire and excite young people, both to get involved in sailing and to understand the technology and innovation behind it. The team's recently established facilities in Portsmouth have raised awareness and excitement around the sport of sailing and we want to ensure that local young people are able to experience some of that excitement themselves, in ways that will benefit them both educationally and personally."

UKSA's CEO Ben Willows commented, "As a long established and experienced youth development sail training provider, we are privileged to be delivering these opportunities for the 1851 Trust. Through providing pathways into local sailing clubs and our strong relationship with Sea Cadet bases we can offer 14 – 16 year olds from the local area the chance to not only try sailing for the first time but enable them to continue their participation, making sailing a sport for life. We are also able to offer a variety of destinations into education, employment or training through our other courses and partnerships with marine industry partners."

ASSF CEO Richard Percy said; "This is a great opportunity for more young people from Portsmouth and the surrounding areas to get out on the water, learn about sailing and most importantly have fun in a safe and friendly environment. The Portsmouth Sailing Project is the perfect platform for us to engage with young people that might not have ever considered getting into sailing, or had the opportunity to do so. Learning from 2015 we are really pleased to be able to offer an extended programme for around 50 children that want to continue sailing but aren't in a position to fund it."

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