Youth Sailing

510 children will sail with us in 2024

420 children sailed with us in 2023

With the help of local charities and the National Lottery Heritage Fund we:

  • Target children from schools in disadvantaged catchment areas
  • Target young people who may experience disadvantage, have particular needs or face barriers in accessing outdoor and nature-based activities
  • Take them sailing in our classic boats
  • Introduce them to the Broads network of rivers and landscape (most have never been on a boat before or visited the countryside around them)
  • Work with teachers through the year to embed the childrens’ experience in the national curriculum
  • Introduce the children to the history of the Broads, its wildlife and environment
  • Show them how boats are built and maintained
  • Develop multi-day sailing programmes for young people
  • Help create a programme to develop their long-term sailing and associated life skills
  • Work with other organisations and charities to promote the Broads environment, heritage and sailing

The benefits of learning to sail

Learning to sail is challenging.  So, too, is learning to live and work with new people, working as a team to handle a large boat.  Being outside, working and eating together, overcoming challenges, with the wind in your hair, provides an opportunity to develop key life skills and supports mental well-being.

With us young people can develop….

  • Teamwork
  • Self confidence
  • Responsibility and leadership
  • Communication
  • Learning through discovery
  • Perseverance and Protection of the environment


As well as…

  • The ability to sail a craft in rivers and lakes (the Norfolk Broads)
  • Understanding of risk assessment, in particular regarding weather and water conditions
  • Understanding weather forecasts and tide timetables
  • Problem solving and Practical STEM skills, such as Mathematics for navigation and sail setting to apparent wind direction and tidal flow. Physics of how wind and sail shape move a boat and how balance of sail and keel weight prevent capsizing

Additional Youth Sailing Support & Education


Wooden boatbuilding is on the Red List of endangered crafts produced by the Heritage Crafts association with the support of the Pilgrim Trust.

The Red List also includes spar making, traditional fender making and hand sewn sail making and repair. 


The Norfolk Heritage Fleet Trust has long had a wish to introduce a formal apprentice programme that will enable young people and older career changers to develop the wooden boatbuilding skills needed to maintain the heritage fleet.  We also feel we have a wider community responsibility to help people build careers in wooden boatbuilding and maintenance.

Bursary Fund

In addition to our own charitable activities taking children sailing, the Trust has established a bursary fund. This allows us to give discounts up to 30% to third party youth and charity groups who use our boats. We believe this fulfils our objective to help educate and support young people through sailing. We particularly aim to support third party groups who, like us, support young people who may experience disadvantage, have particular needs or face barriers in accessing outdoor and nature-based activities.