When you speak to young people who are actively involved in sailing and have competed at events, they believe that sailing helped their personal development in things such as communication, team work, strategy and given them skills that have been useful throughout their lives. Until 2018, there was little research to support what these young people ‘knew’; especially with regards to dinghy sailing and the participation in competition.

The Andrew Simpson Foundation embarked on a journey with academia to develop a body of academic- based research into the benefits of dinghy sailing. They sponsored a study, conducted by Dr Stewart Cotterill and Dr Hazel Brown from the Department of Sports and Exercise at the University of Winchester to form part of the response to the UK Government’s ‘Sporting Future – A New Strategy for an Active Nation’. The aim of the research was to increase wider participation in the sport and optimising and articulating the benefits of dinghy sailing to young people. The report was compelling reading confirming what we, as sailors, already knew.

The science shows us that sailing builds muscle strength and endurance, enhances mental wellness, improves cardiovascular fitness, lowers stress levels, increases agility, improves concentration, develops communication skills and increases spatial awareness. Not forgetting the benefits of the sea air increasing the absorption of oxygen and the sound of the sea having the capacity to alter the wave patterns in the brain. These benefits are key for many children who take part in sailing events around the world – aiding physical and mental wellbeing.

It is therefore with great excitement that outdoor sporting events have been allowed to resume after the second lockdown. We anxiously await Grand Prix 3 of the 29er Nationals to start on the 4th and 5th December 2020 at the National Sailing Academy at Portland and Weymouth. With all the benefits listed above, this is an ideal way to keep fit and stay healthy. I can’t wait to get started.