During term-time we provide residential sail training voyages for young people and vulnerable adults from our base on Hayling Island in beautiful Chichester Harbour.

In the school holidays we focus on Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) silver and gold sailing expeditions and gold sailing residentials, as well as sailing holidays for young people.


We also organise RYA sailing courses for adults as a way of funding our charitable work. 


What is Sail Training?


When we talk about 'sail training', what we are really talking about is 'youth work at sea'.  

We believe that the unique environment of an offshore sailing vessel is the best place for a person to learn about other people, to learn about the world they live in and most importantly to learn about themselves. Our aim isn't to teach young people to sail, though naturally we love to do this. Rather, we provide a safe and supportive space where people can see the direct achievements of working as a team and develop the skills they need to become self-aware, self-confident and resilient adults. 

MST sail training voyages are a stage in a supported process, and we work closely with partner organisations to ensure that voyages are integrated into a meaningful programme. This ensures that the peak experience of sailing, the life skills developed, and emotional maturity gained are transformed into building blocks for sustainable growth and maximises positive outcomes for our beneficiaries. Communities and commissioning organisations benefit from this as we return young people who have found security and the confidence that comes from succeeding in a physical activity and putting skills in practice


Our partner organisations include churches, mainstream and special schools, local authorities, substance misuse rehabilitation facilities, homeless hostels, and the youth justice system. We predominantly work with young people (14-25 years), though we also work on occasion with vulnerable adults.


After a week-residential voyage with MST, 100% of participants feel they can now "find ways to solve problems" and can "achieve things if I put my mind to it"

There is nearly 50% increase in the number of participants who now believe that "if I work hard I usually get what I want" and who now can "get things done on time". 

Our post voyage research shows that all participants on MST voyages feel they are trusted by staff. They agree that they all worked as a team, persevered to complete difficult tasks and learned new skills. 

What the literature says


"Sail training takes many of the components of other land based, outdoor adventure activities– such as overcoming challenges to achieve goals, working as a team, being isolated from the outside world and learning new skills– but with factors that can potentially make the impacts stronger. While elements of these factors are shared with other experiential activities, the specific challenges and unique physical environment of sail training can result in a distinctive experience."

(ASTO Theory of Change 2018)

  1. Sail Training is an Intense/Accelerated Experience – continuous and residential involvement with limited options to walk away or exclude oneself – therefore benefits of activities might be intensified or seen more quickly than say a weekly activity. 

  2. Sail Training is a Real Experience – actions onboard are seen as having real consequences with real purpose. 

  3. Sail Training is a Risky Experience – the perception of genuine risk (though in reality risk is very limited) means that participants feel reliant on staff and their peers to successfully complete the voyage. 

  4. Sail Training is a Different Experience – a new and socially diverse environment may mean that participants are more likely to lose pre-conceptions of the limits of their own abilities and address habits reinforced by their normal, everyday environment. 

  5. Sail Training is an Isolated Experience – being totally away from home, without factors (like social media) that reinforce participants’ normal, everyday behaviours or the ability to walk away. Participants are more likely to be present and reflective. 

  6. Sail Training is a Peak Experience – because of the intensity of the experience, memories may be stronger and therefore potentially have a longer lasting impact than comparable activities. 

Sail Training voyages develop:

Self-knowledge and personal development 

  • Pride/sense of achievement and self-confidence, belief, esteem, reliance/independence 

  • Resilience 

  • Self-control/personal discipline 

  • Organisational skills & time management 

Social Development 

  • Value of teamwork & cooperation 

  • Respect for & understanding of others 

  • Expanded horizons 

  • Knowledge of different social groups & ability to bridge social differences 



  • Hard Skills (Domestic, Sailing, etc.) 

  • Critical Thinking Skills 

  • Knowledge of/respect for the environment 

We support individuals to develop a ‘can do’ attitude; having higher aspirations, growing better relationships and an increase in their learning engagement. This is manifested in our six development targets:

  • Increased engagement within the community. 

  • Improved educational attainment. 

  • Increased employability. 

  • Increased motivation and resourcefulness when faced with adversity. 

  • Improved happiness and wellbeing. 

  • Improved long-term life opportunities 

MST is the UK's only Christian offshore sail training organisation. 

We aim to minister to the whole person in a way no church, or even any standard residential setting, can usually achieve. 

As individuals and groups come up against physical, relational and emotional challenges in the context of a small group living and working together to crew a sailing vessel, life changing growth is often the result. In this context there is an openness to spiritual reality that can be particularly powerful and form a major part of a person's growth.  


We find that the spiritual growth does not outgrow the gain in self-confidence or the emotional growth. It is therefore likely to be more lasting and real in the person's life than, say, just responding to a Gospel message in shore based home or church life. 


Thus what we do differs from other sail training organisations. They have all the personal development objectives, and the best of them achieve these well. We see the spiritual element as an integral part of the growth of the whole person.  Without the spiritual, the rest is good but incomplete. Without those other growth factors, the spiritual is superficial, and out of kilter with the maturity of the person as a whole.  


01243 908026

Morning Star Trust

Northney Marina

Northney Road

Hayling Island


PO11 0NH

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Morning Star Trust: Registered Charity No. 328320 

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