The sea, for all

Our Community Sailing Fund was established to help people from community groups in Sussex access the sea and sailing activities. We do our best to attract grant funding to subsidise our activities, but we rely on donations as well.

Schools and community work is an important part of what Sail Boat Project does. We are a Community Interest Company established in 2009 to provide a range of learning activities based around sailing. We seek to widen access to the sea, creating training and employment opportunities, increasing confidence and a sense of wellbeing in communities within reach of the coast. We operate out of Chichester harbour AONB with regular visits to Shoreham and Newhaven ports and Brighton marina.

In 2018 we worked with 61 participants from 9 groups from across Sussex. Please have a look at our Impact Report to find out more about the work and hear from participants in their own words.

Our community sails offer the chance to:

    • Work as a group onboard our training vessels Karic and Jalapeno
    • See the Sussex coast, from a new perspective
    • Learn about the marine environment and how to look after it
    • Learn teamwork, new skills and gain confidence

Each session is led by a commercial endorsed qualified Skipper, assisted by one of our volunteer First Mates.

What we do

Meet with participants in advance at your premises to introduce ourselves and prepare people for the sailing activities. We’re working on a quiz and spotting cards which we’ll be able to bring when we meet you. This is also a chance for any questions and for us to find out any particular needs we need to take into account. We will also need each person in the group to complete a consent form so we can keep you safe on the water.

Work onboard with your group during the sailing session where you’ll learn the basics of sailing and teamwork. This can be for anything upwards of four hours to a full day sailing passage to or from Chichester harbour, where our boats are based.

Meet with the group at your premises about a month afterwards to review the impact of the sailing activities. This is also a chance to issue certificates of achievement from the RYA Sailability scheme.

What we ask you to do

Recruit a group of four to six participants and let us know of any particular needs we should prepare for.

Offer a space in your building for us to meet with people in advance and afterwards

Get the group to the boat (various locations) and collect them at the end of the session, times negotiable.

Make sure each person coming fills in their consent form in advance.

Participate in our quizzes and spotting guides before, during or after the sail.

Share photos or stories about your trip on social media (optional!)

Why do we do this?

At Sail Boat Project we are committed to widening access to the sea. We have seen over the years how much people can benefit from time on the water and experiencing a connection with the wilderness on our doorstep – the sea! Sailing offers practical challenges for developing transferable skills and the sense of achievement from learning to sail a yacht builds people’s self confidence, and we love to see that happening. Many of us live by the sea without ever having been on the water – seeing where you live from a different physical perspective can help change your outlook on life in more general terms. We also want to build people’s appreciation and awareness of the coastal environment, our impact on it and why we need to look after it. By working a boat under sail, in view of the Rampion offshore wind farm, we also hope to show the importance of wind energy. This complements our Sail Cargo South East partnership where we are working towards zero emission transport and the development of sail cargo hubs.

Available dates

We are currently working up a programme of community sails for 2019

A typical day

Demo Content

FAQ general

How many other people will there be onboard?
For these sailing trips we have room for up to six people from your group. As well as the skipper there will  also be a volunteer first mate assisting.

Do we eat onboard? Do you cater for special diets?
All meals and snacks are included in our rates and our vessels are well stocked for your time onboard. We provide vegetarian and vegan food by default as part of our commitment to lowering our company's carbon footprint, although please feel free to eat anything you want ashore. Thanks to our partners at Infinity Foods we have plenty of great snacks and ingredients. While we all take turns making meals, there are always some homemade pre-prepared dishes so you can make the most of your sailing and learning time. Please let us know about any other dietary needs - we are pretty familiar with various allergies and diets.

Is there a toilet onboard?
Each of our vessels are equipped with at least one sea toilet, called a 'heads', and by boat standards they are quite roomy, with washbasins. They have a slight knack to using them, which your skipper will show you, but they are pretty similar to a home flush toilet. We do ask you to use toilets ashore when in a marina.

Do you provide waterproofs?
Yes, we provide salapette trousers and jackets which are wind and waterproof, as well as sailing boots which provide a secure grip on deck. Please feel free to bring your own gear or to ask us for advice on where to purchase affordable sailing gear. Lifejackets and safety harnesses are provided.

Will it be rough, what if I feel sick?
We want you to enjoy your sailing and our skippers remain very aware of how people are feeling and do their best to avoid unnecessarily unpleasant conditions by planning ahead. The timings for these sails are flexible so we can come back in if anyone isn't enjoying themselves. We also have some flexibility in our schedule to re-arrange trips if it is rough.

What if the weather is really bad, what weather don't we go out in?
Sailing is obviously very weather dependent. We reserve the right to cancel trips and courses at our discretion, due to adverse weather. If we are forced to do so, we will be in touch with you in the days beforehand to advise and we will work with you to attempt to find you a suitable replacement or if not we will refund all of your money. However, Sail Boat Project cannot be held responsible for any other loss that you may have incurred due to cancellation of your course or trip. The final decision on whether a course or trip goes ahead is always based on the capabilities of those onboard and we are not interested in forcing anyone into being forced into a position they are uncomfortable with.

Will I get a certificate?
We can issue certificates of achievement as part of the RYA Sailability scheme and we have our own certificates of achievement for groups.

Do you make arrangements for people with special needs, learning or physical?
Yes, we have experience of taking people out sailing with a range of different needs. Our ethos is to make things possible and we will always work with you to allow inclusion and participation from everyone. While our vessels are not specifically adapted, for example for wheelchair users, we will always think about what changes we can make to get people out on the water. We use a variety of learning materials that engage and include people and our skippers and instructors are always learning and sharing with each other techniques to help people make the most of their time with us.

Can I talk to a skipper in advance?
Yes, our aim is for one of our skippers to come and meet your group in advance and chat about the trip and what you want to get from it. We are making a quiz to help you learn more about the marine environement and wind energy.

Will I see any wildlife?
Plenty of birdlife and the odd seal - in Chichester harbour there is a whole seal colony at certain times of the year. Marine mammals are not as abundant as we'd like them to be, although dolphins are not an uncommon sight. Last year we even encountered a pod of pilot whales off Chichester harbour. If we are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time we would never move in close or cause any undue stress. We have marine wildlife spotter guides onboard to help you prepare.

FAQ - for group leaders

Are you DBS cleared?

We use DBS (formerly known as CRB) cleared RYA commercially qualified instructors for our work with young people.

Do you have risk assessments, child protection and vulnerable adult policies?

Yes we can provide you with copies of all these. We have very thorough risk assessment and operating policies. In terms of child protection and sleeping accommodation we can talk through with you how cabin spaces can be allocated. We have male and female skippers to meet your requirements according to the group.

Are you insured?

We have all relevant insurance, including Public Liability Insurance of £5,000,000 for any one event. We can provide you with copies.

What are you boats like?

Please have a look at the 'Our Boats' pages. Each of our training vessels can accommodate up to ten people. They have ships toilets ('heads') and spacious cooking areas and facilities ('galley') as well as a table large enough for all ten people onboard to sit around to eat, learn or plan the day together.

Can we meet a skipper in advance?

Yes we aim for your skipper to meet with your group in advance. We can give you an idea of what the trip will involve and prepare you for your sailing adventure, we can even show one of our short videos.

Will we learning anything apart from sailing?

We tailor our group activities to your needs. While we certainly teach the basics of sailing, life onboard is a big factor of any trip – cooking, cleaning and looking out for each other. We are producing a quiz to learn about the marine enviornment and a spotters guide which your group can work with before, during or after the trip.

What do you do about people with special needs, educational or physical?

We have experience of taking people out sailing with a range of special needs. Our ethos is to make things possible and we will always work with you to allow inclusion and participation for everyone in a group. While our vessels are not specifically adapted for wheelchair users, for example, we have made this work in the past. We would always do this in line with our risk assessment. We have developed learning materials that engage and include people and we are happy to share these in advance to help a group prepare for their sailing trip.

Can we get certificates for our sailing trip?

We can award Certificates of Achievement through the complementary RYA Sailability scheme, designed to support the development of any sailor regardless of ability.

What our previous crews said

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Seeing where I live from a different perspective, the sea, helped give me a different perspective on my life.

Anonymous survey response 5th March 2019

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Most memorable thing I’ve done in my life. Will be a famous tale for years to come

Anonymous survey response 5th March 2019

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It was a great experience for all of us learning how to helm a boat

Anonymous survey response 5th March 2019

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All my experiences with Sail Boat Project have been very positive. The captains and first mates have always been very open, friendly and informative. Would always recommend

Anonymous survey response 5th March 2019

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It was fantastic! An amazing experience. Good to learn about navigation. Learn about different sails, how to steer & generally sail aboard, ropes, sails etc. Good fun eating, sleeping, cooking on the boat. Real good fun!

Anonymous survey response 5th March 2019

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"Very good trip, learnt a lot from it. Crew very friendly and helpful".

30th January 2019

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Have sailed with the Sail Boat Project on three different occasions now (lucky me), and finally managed to get my comp crew - thanks to patience of instructors and my crew mates 🙂 I've loved learning how to sail and found it really soothing - would recommend it to anyone with a busy brain and a need to switch off. I wanted to sail specifically with Sail Boat Project because I felt that I would be putting my money into an organisation with a community spirit and commitment to environmental sustainability - so much more than just a sailing school.

Mireille 22nd October 2018

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Esteem’s Shoreham office and volunteers worked with Sail Boat Project in 2015, helping recruit participants for their Sea Legacy bursary scheme. They have provided sail training activities for members of our group and I am aware of the positive impact this has had on them. The sail training has enabled our participants to develop their soft skills, in particular teaching them to turn up on time, to be presentable, cooking and looking out for others onboard, social awareness and practical skills.

Cat Vizor, Esteem youth group 27th October 2015

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The clients were both nervous and excited before the event. They had to push themselves at times,
do things that they never thought they would, some of which were outside their comfort zones, but
they also had to work as a team. They all thoroughly enjoyed it. Comments received were:
‘I never thought someone like me would have the chance to do something like this.’
‘I discovered things about myself that I never knew. I never thought I would have an opportunity like
this and I now see how I can use this trip as part of my recovery programme.’
‘We all had to work together as a team, look out for each other, it was amazing! I want to help out
with maintenance.’
‘We had to pick up a mooring buoy, and there was only one chance to do it, with a boathook, and it
took hand-eye co-ordination and that was something I learnt that I could do.’
The keyworkers for all of the clients involved have recorded the positive effect the trip had on the
recovery of the clients. Sail Boat Project staff, including the Skipper of the yacht for the trip, visited
the project to gain feedback from the clients and the project itself. From this visit it was very evident
that the trip had been a resounding success.
Since the inaugural two day sail, with the help and support of the Sail Boat Project we have
managed to organise two shorter trips out to sea for some of the residents, including one client with
learning difficulties and one with mobility issues. Again, members of Sail Boat Project came to the Recovery Project to talk to residents about the opportunity before the trip.
Comments after the event included:
"This trip is the best thing that's happened to me for ages"
These opportunities have a really positive effect on our clients and certainly help them on their
journey of recovery.

Sue Stevens, Worthing Churches Homeless Projects 27th October 2015

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We had to pick up a mooring buoy, and there was only one chance to do it, with a boathook, and it took hand-eye co-ordination and that was something I learnt that I could do

8th October 2015

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We all had to work together as a team, look out for each other, it was amazing! I want to help out with maintenance

8th October 2015

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This trip is the best thing that's happened to me for ages

8th October 2015

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I discovered things about myself that I never knew. I never thought I would have an opportunity like this and I now see how I can use this trip as part of my recovery programme

8th October 2015

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I think what you are doing is superb. Tackling the exclusivity of sailing is so worthwhile. I hope you are able to reach young people in the many relatively deprived coastal towns in the South East.

8th October 2015

What to bring
  • Clothing layers - even if it's sunny or warm on land it can get quite chilly when sailing
  • Hat, sun cream, lip salve, sunglasses, gloves
  • If you're staying overnight or longer you'll need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towel, toiletries
  • Any medication you would normally require
  • Pack your belongings in a soft bag that can be easily stowed
  • Do bring any of your favourite snacks or soft drinks as we may not be near any shops
    (If you have your own foul weather gear you are welcome to bring it)
  • If you haven't been sailing before and don't know if you might get seasick, some good advice is to have a sensible breakfast and don't drink lots of alcohol the night before!
  • Bring seasickness pills if you might need them.
What we provide
  • Lifejackets
  • All meals & snacks while on board (vegetarian/vegan)
  • Sleeping berth if staying overnight
  • Waterproofs and boots
  • Please feel free to discuss equipment concerns with us prior to your sailing trip or course, we will happily advise on purchases if you would like to buy your own gear.

To find out more about our Community Sailing Fund

please call (+44) 07576 248 348 or fill in the form below. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Your Name

Your Email

Your Phone Number


Your Message

Past Projects

6 days aboard for a Year 8 class. We met with them before to plan their trip which was part of their discovery project that term.

In 2015 we worked with people recovering from addictions, from the Recovery Project in Worthing. Participants gained confidence and learnt new skills on the sailing trips, using this as part of their programmes of recovery. This work helped inform our current Sailing Forward recovery sails.

A sail training bursary scheme funded by the European Social Fund.

A five day residential for people interested in learning, developing and sharing practical skills and knowledge connected with marine environments

We have worked with students and volunteer teachers from the Brighton-based Migrant English Project since 2013, taking people out on short sailing trips from Chichester harbour and Brighton marina. The trips combine relaxation, exercise and groupwork.

A 10 day residential learning skills and knowledge for essential boat maintenance for people from across the EU.

The Sea Legs sailing bursary was aimed at people who live in Sussex, are out of work or on a low income and fit within our target groups.