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This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Two-thirds of young people (68%) said their mental health got worse during the lockdown.

Sailing can and does have a tremendous impact on mental health and improved wellbeing. It boosts self-esteem, improves our confidence, and reduces tension & stress.

One study from the University of Exeter found that people who live close to the water are 22 percent less likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety than people who live further inland.

What is it about being on or near the water? It’s a combination of engaging in a physical activity, learning a new skill which allows you to momentarily leave your comfort zone and immerse your thoughts on the experience of being out on the water and focuses the mind and body in the moment.

A few of our young sailors said the following:

Gregory – ‘Its very relaxing. I love the wind and the water splashing in my face’.

Thomas – ‘I love the feeling of the power and the control I have over the boat’.

Freddy – ‘I love being on the water, it’s fun. There are always new things to do, whether it’s different weather conditions or new skills to learn’.

Lydia – ‘If I’m down or angry I can just pull in the sail, go fast, and let everything else go’.

With Forms 3 and 4 enjoying sailing lessons during enrichment, a thriving after school sailing club (both at the Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre on Portland) and a group windsurfing on a Friday afternoon (at the OTC on Portland), we have 62% of the school (Form 3-8) on the water each week!

We have also been successful racing in recent years and again have a keen team ready to represent the school at the IAPS Nationals next week.

We hope all children continue to enjoy their time on the water whatever form that takes.

Ian Stazicker

Author Ian Stazicker

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