Southern Wind Optimist at Little Optimist Sailing Academy

Lend your sailing skills to The Little Optimist Sailing Academy

Donate your time to make an impact

Sailing is more than just a thrilling sport; it holds the power to heal and inspire individuals, especially when combined with the therapeutic benefits of being out on the water. One remarkable initiative embodying this idea is The Little Optimist Sailing Academy, located at the V & A Waterfront. Created by Greg Bertish, this academy is making waves in the sailing community by harnessing the therapeutic potential of sailing to bring hope, empowerment, and transformation to people of all ages and backgrounds. 

The Little Optimist Sailing Academy provides sailing therapy to children between 6 and 18 years of age from disadvantaged and marginalised communities. The attendees come from areas riddled with gangsterism, poverty, unemployment and inequality. The programs offered have been developed and aimed at those without access to or education about sailing. Using primary and fun teaching methods, adapted plastic Optimist boats and locally trained coaches, they aim to empower and bolster a growth mindset among the attendees.  It allows under-resourced, less educated, less abled children to access the perceived elitist sport of sailing. The barriers to entry include lack of education, financial means, and access. It is a male-dominated sport with little focus or resources aimed at empowering and educating females, at-risk youth and under-resourced communities.  

Greg with kids at Sailing Academy

Sailing therapy provides individuals with unique opportunities to connect with nature, develop self-confidence, enhance social skills, and gain a sense of accomplishment. This therapy promotes relaxation, mindfulness, and stress relief, helping participants cope with various challenges. They learn life skills such as self-reliance, decision-making, and perseverance. By introducing them to the wonders of sailing, the academy fosters a love for the sea and encourages environmental stewardship among the next generation of sailors.

Building resilience and a growth mindset

Sailing therapy also emphasises the importance of teamwork and social interaction. The Little Optimist Sailing Academy encourages participants to collaborate with others, fostering a sense of camaraderie and companionship on the water. By working together to navigate sailing challenges, individuals develop crucial communication and teamwork skills that can be applied to other aspects of their lives. Sailing, by its very nature, demands adaptability and resilience. As participants learn to navigate changing winds and tides, they develop resilience, problem-solving abilities, and a positive mindset extending beyond the sailing experience’s confines.

The Little Optimist Sailing Academy is always open to welcoming yacht crew and guests to participate in its programmes. Seeing the programme’s impact first-hand is a powerful experience, not easily forgotten.

Pop Greg an email at The Little Optimist Sailing Academy, and he will guide you on how best to structure participation. 

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