You will be involved in all aspects of life aboard: from pulling the ropes, steering the boat, preparing meals* for your crew, to helping to keep the yacht shipshape and clean. Sharing your home with other people requires communicating your own boundaries and respecting those of others. Under the guidance of Quaystage staff, you will become a team in no time, plus learning and living together might just become the most rewarding experience of your life!
While our onboard language is English, you may hear a few different accents when you join your crew. Many of our Sail Campers (and some of our staff as well) come from different parts of Europe or around the world and bring their own experiences to a wonderfully multicultural adventure!
*We can serve most dietary needs on board, but please let us know in advance if you have special requirements. As not everything is available once we are underway, it is important that we can stock up on the necessary provisions beforehand.
Our yachts are usually between 46 and 50 ft long and accommodate up to 10 people. They carry all life jackets and necessary safety equipment and are certified by the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) – which is considered to have one of the highest safety standards in the world.*
Accommodation is in shared cabins, although many Sail Campers end up sleeping under the stars on deck instead. Each yacht also has a galley (kitchen), saloon (lounge area) and usually two heads (bathrooms).
Most of our Sail Camps sail as a flotilla of 2-4 boats to give you the best of both worlds – the tightly knit friendship with your fellow crew mates AND the fun of activities and get-togethers with a larger group.
*When using vessel from another flag state all efforts will be made to ensure that all vessels are coded to this standard and RYA’s safety requirements.
Our team of professional and passionate sail trainers is made up of a fantastic group of people from all kinds of inspiring backgrounds – sailors, travellers, teachers and scientists, to name just a few. And as different as their stories may be – they all have one thing in common: unending enthusiasm and passion to pass on their skills and experiences to a new generation of adventurers!
All our team members have experience working with young people, are DBS checked, and many of them we have known and worked with for many years.
Each boat has at least one skipper on board who is a professional to RYA Yachtmaster or equivalent and qualified sailing instructor.
Learning to sail is at the heart of every Sail Camp. You’ll learn the basics of being a crew on a sailing yacht, from knots and sail handling to helming (steering the boat), as well as the basics of navigation and chartwork. You’ll be taught by qualified RYA instructors according to the RYA syllabus, and, depending on your programme, you can achieve a variety of different RYA certificates.
However, you will be doing so much more than ‘just sailing’ on your Sail Camp. Our programmes are designed to be multi-activity experiences including swimming & snorkelling, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. As you immerse yourself in your new marine home, you will be learning more about this unique environment and its inhabitants. And in between sails, there will be plenty of opportunities for games and competitions with your fellow crew mates and the crews of the other boats.
While most of the activities will be based in, on or by the water, there will also be opportunities to explore the shore-side of our host countries, going on hikes through beautiful landscapes being rewarded with stunning views, or on a leisurely stroll around small coastal towns on the hunt for a local snack or souvenir.
(Activities vary depending on the Sail Camp you choose and are subject to weather and availability)
Learning to sail and navigate their yacht and facing the physical and mental challenges of being out at sea, have shown over and over to inspire confidence in young people, as well as an increased awareness of the environment around them. Living in the tight-knit community on board develops teamwork, leadership and, most of all, friendship.
Learning hands-on skills like calculating a course, predicting the tides or adjusting the sails to the wind bring classic curriculum items out of the classroom and into an approachable and fun context. Exploring the environment we sail in, as well as the destinations we sail to, by diving in head first (sometimes quite literally), forms the setting of our mission to provide an education at sea for young people of all backgrounds and abilities.
When underway, many resources are limited on board a yacht, so saving freshwater and electricity is a necessity and quickly becomes second nature to everyone on board. But even beyond that, sailing is possibly the most environmentally friendly way to travel!
While unfortunately, we can’t yet avoid the CO2 emissions of getting to and from the marina, especially if there are flights involved, once on board we go fossil-fuel free for most of the way. It is part of the joy of sailing to challenge yourself to find the best route and put all your new skills to use to make use of winds and tides instead of the engine whenever it is practicably possible.
When going ashore we follow the rule of leaving nothing behind but footprints in the sand, limiting single-use plastic and other waste as much as possible and taking everything back on board with us when we leave. Whenever possible, we try to incorporate a quick beach clean-up in our activities, too.
Sail Camps are designed to provide young people with a controlled and supportive environment in which they can grow and discover their own strengths through adventures and the interpersonal experience on board. The challenges you will experience on the programme – of a physical, social or emotional nature – are part of the learning experience, and, while suitable for all, not appropriate for all. It is therefore important for your own safety and wellbeing to make sure that our Sail Camps are the right fit for you. If you can answer the following questions with “yes”, you are ready for an adventure you will never forget! 😀
*We aim to make our programmes as inclusive as possible. If you are unsure if our Sail Camps are the right fit for you because of any physical conditions or special needs, please get in touch with us. We can then discuss together, if and how we can make this adventure happen for you.
As an AAP for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme all our Youth Sail Camp programmes qualify for the Gold Award Residential element. If you are taking part in the scheme and wish your time on board to qualify towards your award, you can sign up when you make your booking.