Empowering young people

The YMCA Tall Ships Adventure is an annual programme created to empower disadvantaged young people to build employable skills and resilience through a fun, challenging sailing experience.


Under expert supervision of YMCA youth leaders and support from the Tall Ships Youth Trust, young people strengthen key life skills such as character-building, communication and teamwork, as they sail a 72ft challenger yacht together as a crew.


Stories from 2019 adventure

“It’s been tough physically and mentally… I’ve done things I never thought I’d do…


Definitely the thing I’m most proud of is conquering my fear of heights. I was 10ft up the mast hoisting down a sail, and never in a million years could I have done that. But in the spirit of the moment I just said yes and I did it!


It was rough… but I got there in the end.”

YMCA resident, aged 23

“You get to find a part of you that you didn't know before

YMCA resident, aged 20

The Reason Y


​It’s a hands-on test of the team-working and communication skills of the team no board.

The ship only sails if everyone is focused on their task!


​Crews tend to start as strangers, and finish as lifelong friends. Crews work and live together 24/7 throughout the trip, with everyone doing their fair share.


A common focus and shared challenges creates a space where young people can really belong, contribute and thrive.


​Life on the sea is a challenging but profoundly rewarding experience.


It can take time to find their sea legs or adjust to life on-board, but the positive influence the experience has on young people is palpable.

Technical Sailing Skills

​Before setting sail, the Tall Ships Youth Trust conducts a thorough orientation session.


From then on, they’ll learn on the waves under the masterful guidance of the skipper and Tall Ships Youth Trust volunteers.

The trip of a lifetime

It’s not just a sailing trip, it’s a chance for young people to make friends, push themselves and achieve something they’d never considered possible.


Some highlights from 2019 sailors included seeing wild dolphins off the Cornish coast, sailing under Tower Bridge and climbing the mast.


Start: 12 August 2020
Finish: 10 October 2020

Bookings for UK YMCAs now open

In 2020, we have arranged for this programme to be accessible for YMCAs across the country too.


It's an incredible opportunity for any YMCAs wanting to give their young people the opportunity of a lifetime!


Bursaries available to support funding for disadvantaged young people.


Come and join us on the waves!


Sign-up ends May 31st 2020.


YMCA Newark and Sherwood (Registered Charity 117774). This is a campaign landing page only. For full information about our charity, visit www.ymcanewarksherwood.org 

All sailing imagery is copyright and belongs to the Tall Ships Youth Trust.