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Robin Knox Johnston takes four students racing in the Portsmouth Regatta

Sir Robin Knox Johnston took four students from Ark Charter Academy in Portsmouth racing for the first time. Two boys from Year 9 and two girls from Year 7 are to join Sir Robin on board his famous yacht, Suhaili, took part in the Portsmouth Regatta on the 9th June. Suhali was the first yacht to sail single handed around the world non stop. The regatta is ran jointly by the Royal Naval and Royal Albert Yacht Club, the Victory Class and Portsmouth Sailing Club. This was a momentous day for the four young people, sailing with one of the world’s most accomplished and best-known sailors, which will doubtless be both inspirational and memorable – a day to remember for all of them.

Regatta Director, Adrian Saunders said we have supported the Andrew Simpson Foundation for three years now which gives children in portsmouth the benefit to go sailing. The four students have gone through Phase One of the Portsmouth Sail Training Trust’s weekly programme, which is held during the school term for 100+ young people from five schools in Portsmouth and aimed at raising aspirations in young people.

The engaging sessions teach a variety of maritime skills, working towards gaining qualifications in sailing, power boating, first aid, navigation and seamanship, and diesel engine maintenance. These skills, that this group of young people develop, are then put into practice with employer engagement sessions with local maritime businesses to expand opportunities for their future careers, as well as providing them with key life skills for the future, such as communication, teamwork, resilience and independence.

The 4 young people were selected from a group of 12 students from Ark Charter Academy who are all taking part in the PSTT Programme. The chosen four have been particularly applying themselves to the programme and have already gained an immense amount benefit; gaining new skills and developing and maturing personally and socially.

Jennifer Rook, lead teacher of Mathematics at Ark Charter Academy, and a committed supporter of the PSTT programme for her students, says, “The benefits of sport and physical activity on the young people taking part seem to be limitless: the confidence they gain results in a more balanced approach to normal every day activities. This is clearly visible in the young people that have taken part in the scheme and it’s a great pleasure to watch them grow in self-reliance both afloat and back in the classroom.