In October 2014, we were granted £278,000 for a four year project by the Big Lottery Fund, to take 400 people from Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth to sea. We also provide opportunites for powerboat and watch leader training, possibly leading to apprenticeships or training for the offshore windfarms.

This project is open to:


  •  12 to 18 year olds from schools, colleges, scouts, cadet forces, youth groups


  • 18 to 40 unemployed, homeless or disadvantaged people.


  • Any age with disabilities, or recovering from drug or alcohol dependency
Having a blast off Harwich!

Having a blast off Harwich!


The programme starts with a five day voyage on Leila, probably sailing down the coast to Ipswich. Trainees will have the opportunity to gain the Royal Yachting Association Competent Crew certificate. Normally there will be groups of five including the trainees and a leader. Alternatively, the Start Yachting certificate can be gained over two weekends. If neccessary, groups can also just take a trial weekend or day sail.
Following their competent crew qualification, trainees can access powerboat training to RYA level 2 which is a requirement for employment in the marine industry. This will involve taking control of a powerboat, some practical navigation skills and essential safety training.
We need volunteer mates to help us sail Leila, so there will five day watch leader courses on Leila in more challenging conditions. This will also instill leadership qualities that are important for job searches.
Anybody not in education, employment or training will be mentored throughout the programme to develop skills and achieve ambitions. We are developing close relationships with local industry, specifically the East of England Electricity Generating Group which represents 400 local employers.

Who can sail?


Our Lottery project is open to anyone in or near Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. We mainly focus on young people aged 12 to 30, but can accept older trainees who are disadvantaged by homelessness, unemployment, disability, and drug or alcohol recovery for instance. We set 12 as a minimum age because we only carry adult size life jackets and waterproofs, also younger children get homesick, however if you have a keen 11 year old let us know.


The groups of four plus one leader can come from any organization or a collection of individuals. Accommodation is in a fore cabin for two and the saloon for four, so same sex groups might be easier. if you have girls under 18, the leader must be female, as our staff are mostly male.
If you want to sail with us and know four people who would really benefit – get in touch. It is that simple!

What does it cost?

We ask each trainee to pay £20 only, for their food for the voyage. This ensures that trainees have some investment in the project but we can waive this amount if it is problematic. The cost of the five day voyage, normally £2400, is paid for by the Big Lottery Fund.

What do I do next?
What paperwork do we need?

Each participant must fill in the Voyage Booking Form in plenty of time, so that we can get guardian/parental consent for under 18’s. Any adult traveling with under 18’s must have a current Debarring Service certificate – the old police check. We can help with this if you give us plenty of notice. We have risk assessments and insurance documents here that may be needed by parents or organizations.

We ask that all trainees agree to our sailing rules – read below.

What do we need to bring?

There is a kit list as well as a suggested menu for the food you need to organise here.

We suggest that you don’t bring expensive electronic equipment as it will be ruined by sea water. Mobile use and personal stereos are resticted on deck for safety reasons.

Where will we go?

From Lowestoft, we will sail to Ipswich or Harwich on the first day. This will be a long and challenging sail. If the wind and tides are against us we may do this on the second day, spending the first night in Yarmouth perhaps. We will then spend two or three days sailing around the Rivers between Ipswich, Harwich and Maldon whilst we train you to run the boat. On the last day you will sail the boat home to Lowestoft. Hopefully we will have a barbecue one evening and spend a night at anchor somewhere. Have a look at facebook for recent voyages.

At the beginning and end of the year we sail from Ipswich to avoid long, cold and dark passages along the coast. We are more likely to then explore other rivers like the Blackwater and the Deben. Weekends from Lowestoft may involve a night in Yarmouth, whilst weekends from Ipswich may spend a night in Harwich.

Anything we must not do?

Please let us know if you are having problems – please do not cancel at the last minute. It takes a lot of money every year to get the boat ready for you, and a late cancellation will mean that we cannot meet targets for our own funding from the Lottery.

Moving Forward

We want you to sail with us every year, even when the Lottery Project finishes in 2018. If you can gather evidence of the benefits over two years, we will supply the berths at half price. We can then approach donors to cover the cost of an annual voyage of five days every year for six trainees, costing £1500. The evidence we gather will persuade someone to pay this for you.


We would like each group to:
  1. Complete the short questionnaire online on the first day of the voyage
  2. Do the questionnaire again on the last day of the voyage


Please give us feedback on this process

REMEMBER – To keep sailing, we must keep evaluating.

If you have a group that is up for this challenge, or would just like to find out more.

The challenge of the sea

A voyage on board Leila is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills, face new challenges, overcome fears and achieve things you didn’t think you would be able to do. It could be part of a successful college, university or job application.

Completing a voyage demonstrates that there might be more to you than someone who just sits at home, playing computer games and watching Facebook.

Even if you are a high achiever with a long list of exam passes or successes in other fields, a voyage adds an extra dimension to your record.

Here are just a few of the experiences from a voyage which can be relevant in other areas of your life:

  • Persisting with things you initially find difficult
  • Succeeding with things you initially find daunting
  • Basic life skills – such as cooking
  • Overcoming challenges
  • Coping with unfamiliar situations
  • Communication skills
  • Seizing opportunities
  • Getting up on time!
  • Team working
  • Building confidence
  • Practicing leadership skills
  • Tolerance and understanding of other people – especially those from very different backgrounds
  • Developing initiative
  • Taking responsibility
  • Working with new people
  • Learning new skills

One thing is definite, you will never forget your time on Leila!

Promises and rules

Leila Sailing Trust promises to provide a safe and positive learning environment for everybody to experience adventure under sail.

This means the crew will be encouraged to take part in all aspects of running the sailing vessel and work will be shared evenly by all.

Everybody will have the opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns which they may have throughout the voyage.

There are some important rules which must be followed to help make this happen:

  • Always abide by safety instructions.
  • No drugs or alcohol.
  • Not to bully, threaten or be violent.
  • Always be inclusive.
  • No offensive behavior or attitude.
  • Take a full and willing part in all the activities.
  • Take responsibility for the things that you say or do.
  • Support & respect others.
  • Try & learn as much as possible.
  • Have fun!
New Horizons Pirate

Young people leaving the Vessel

You are expected to involve yourself in the running of the vessel as directed by the Skipper and other sea staff. If you fail to do so, or engage in behavior that is disruptive or offensive then you will be dismissed from the voyage.

Sail training voyages let young people discover their true potential through the experience of sail training.

Booking Form

Personal Information

Emergency Contact

Medical Details

If you become ill while we are sailing offshore, the skipper needs some information to look after you properly. This is confidential.
We need to know if you have suffered from any of the following in the last seven years. We also need to know if you suffer from something between completing this form and joining Leila for your voyage.
Please supply details in a separate communication, together with any medicines that are being taken, and dosage.















This declaration must be submitted by the applicant, or their guardian if under 18. I have provided all medical details necessary for the health and safety of the voyage. I consent to the administration of emergency medical treatment, including anesthetic. I will comply with instructions from the sea staff.

Yes, I consent to the use of my image or voice on Leila Sailing Trust publicity material.

If under 18, name and email/phone number of your guardian who is submitting this form. Our child protection officer will contact them. This is a part of our duty of care to young people.

Equality Information

We are required to collect information on ethnicity, religion and sexuality to ensure that we are not overlooking a minority. You are not obliged to answer these questions if you feel uncomfortable about them, but they will help us monitor the project's fairness.

Ethnic Group

Religious Group


All insurance information, Safety Guides and Plans, as well as Certificates can be viewed here.