THE SCHOOLS SAIL­ING PI­O­NEER

Yachting Monthly - - INVESTIGATION -

Jon Holt runs Scaramouche, the only yacht op­er­ated and owned by a state school

It would be easy to say this is some­thing just af­fect­ing sail­ing. In re­al­ity, young peo­ple have much more to at­tract their at­ten­tion to­day, so school foot­ball and other sports are also see­ing a de­cline.

There is an ob­vi­ous fi­nan­cial bar­rier to yacht pur­chase for younger peo­ple, but we ex­ist due to the wider yacht­ing com­mu­nity step­ping up to the mark to help young peo­ple go sail­ing. This ex­tends beyond the class­room. When our sail­ing stu­dents leave school, they have built up re­la­tion­ships on other boats and so go rac­ing and con­tinue in the sport, de­spite not be­ing in a po­si­tion to own a yacht.

We have an hon­orary mem­ber­ship set up with Lyming­ton Town Sail­ing Club, and whilst we’re not the club’s usual de­mo­graphic, it works very well and fos­ters a sense of be­long­ing. Sail­ing de­mands com­mit­ment, so any­thing that makes it eas­ier for young peo­ple to get on the wa­ter has to be a good thing, break­ing down bar­ri­ers at the point of ac­cess is im­por­tant, but we shouldn’t lose faith in what a sup­port­ive com­mu­nity we have. Our dinghy sail­ing has al­ways been on sec­ond­hand boats, which proves to the chil­dren it does not have to be a high bud­get sport.

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