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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. 

I did things even though they were diffi
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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 and is therefore likely to be more lasting and real in the person's 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.  

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