New study highlights value of Sail Training

19 September 2012

New study highlights value of Sail Training

Dramatic improvements in personal confidence and a sense of self-worth were key benefits for the young trainees participating in a sail training voyage during The Tall Ships Races 2012, this summer – according to pioneering, collaborative research by The University of Edinburgh and Sail Training International (STI).

The voyages also led to a significant improvement in participants’ understanding of differences between young people from other cultures and backgrounds.  

These were the main findings of the first phase of a study conducted by two post-graduate students of The University of Edinburgh, among a sample of 41 young trainees from seven countries, aged between 15 – 25 years.  A second phase of the study in six month’s time will test whether these changes in attitude, awareness and behaviour are sustained.

The young trainees who participated in the study were recipients of bursary funding support, mostly from the Sultanate of Oman, but also from the European Union and other sources.  

The project was run by a research team from Moray House School of Education with Dr Pete Allison and Dr Kenneth Fordyce as supervisors.  Research students were Chi-wen Chiu from the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programme and Yezi Liu from the Management of Training and Development (MTD) programme as postgraduate students.

Yezi Liu (pictured) conducted the field work of the study in the ports of St Malo, France and Lisbon, Portugal (the start and finish ports of the first leg of The Tall Ships Races 2012); and while racing between the two ports aboard Dutch sail training Tall Ship Europa.  Research involved a formal questionnaire survey before, during the after the race, observations and discussion with participants.

“This was my first time at sea and it was a fantastic, life changing experience of me as well as the trainees,” says Yezi Liu.  “I observed first hand the benefits they were experiencing.”

 “This interesting piece of work supports the work of a much larger study conducted by The University of Edinburgh in 2007; it adds valuable qualitative insights and explores related benefits of sail training”, said Dr Pete Allison.  “The next phase will test how durable these changes in self-efficacy and attitudes have been and to gain a better understanding of cross cultural education through adventurous sport.”

“The value of sail training in the personal development of young people is well documented; but this study has a particular interest because it is focused on young people whose participation was largely dependent on bursary funding from external sources,” said Nigel Rowe, founder Chairman and now a Patron of Sail Training International.  “A key purpose of the study for STI is to provide independent evidence of the value of such a bursary scheme to encourage others to provide this kind of support.”

For further information contact:

Sally Titmus, Communications Manager, Sail Training International

Tel: +44 (0)23 9258 6367

Mobile: +44 (0) 7827 298 733

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