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Cirdan Sailing Trust

Cirdan Sailing Trust

About The Cirdan Sailing Trust…

The Cirdan Sailing Trust  provides disadvantaged young people across the UK with self-development, integration and learning opportunities through the challenge of life at sea aboard large sailing vessels.   

Cirdan was founded in 1983 by the Rev Bill Broad who was convinced that off-shore sailing in groups was a sure way of encouraging the development, team work and motivation of young people.  Partly for his charitable service to society, Bill was made an Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral in 1994.

Our work is carried out aboard a small fleet of large traditional style sailing vessels, some of which have an added historic value. Accompanied by their youth leaders and working alongside our professional crew, young people come on board for a residential experience and are involved in all aspects of running and sailing the vessel, both above and below deck.   They work together on deck, get involved in planning and navigation, learn to cook for themselves and each other and keep a tidy ship.  They also adapt to living in harmony with their shipmates in a confined space and appreciate how to conduct themselves when ashore.

Through this active involvement, young people learn about themselves, develop an acceptance of others and a willingness to take controlled risks, discover hidden strengths and talents and appreciate the value of teamwork.  Youth leaders use the benefits gained and new skills learned to build on their work back at home.  There is evidence that the service we provide does change the course of young peoples’ lives.

Most of the young people come in groups from youth organisations and include those who suffer from disadvantages related to social deprivation and isolation, abuse, special needs; they may be homeless, have learning difficulties, be excluded from education or part of a rehabilitation scheme. 


Support from benefactors is vital…

Cirdan’s work is partly self-funding through voyage fee charges which are kept as low as possible.  However, very few of the organisations and young people who wish to benefit from the experience we offer are in a position to cover the full costs involved.  They rely on support from our Voyage of Discovery Fund scheme to supplement the limited monies raised through their own resources to ensure the experience can be made available to their young people.  With our focus on the provision of voyages for disadvantaged groups, we in turn rely on the generous support of benefactors throughout Britain for the successful operation of the scheme.

In recent years, the financial restrictions faced by the youth sector have led to a great many of our youth organisations having to cut involvement in our type of positive activity from their programmes; those that do participate rely heavily on support from the scheme to help them fund it.

Around 32,000 young people have sailed aboard our vessels over the years and we hope to offer the experience to many more in the years to come. However, we need a great deal of help to spread the word of our work amongst youth organisations throughout the UK as well as the continued support and generosity of funders.


Leonie Back, General Manager, The Cirdan Sailing Trust

The Archbishop of York has been Patron of The Cirdan Sailing Trust since 2007.