Nurturing Leadership

The leadership qualities fostered through becoming a Junior Watch Leader don’t just benefit young people in the present – the personal growth and skills gained set them up for lifelong success.

Nurturing Leadership

  • 7 min read

Last week, a group of our newly promoted Junior Watch Leaders (ranging from 15 to 17) surprised us all. While volunteering at a fundraising event, they devised the idea to auction off a dance with the ship’s captain (me!). These teens confidently circulated the room, engaging guests in friendly banter to solicit bids. Ultimately, their teamwork and persuasiveness helped raise an impressive amount.

At the start of the year, these same young people stood nervously by their parents’ sides. But through our voyages and leadership training aboard, they've rapidly gained the courage to take charge. Their fundraising exemplified this blossoming transformation. These young people found their voices - and are using them to create positive change.

Stories like this inspire our unwavering commitment to unleashing potential in young people. With careful guidance tailored to each young person, we unlock talents and abilities that schools cannot. Like our new Junior Watch Leaders, every young person possesses untapped leadership capabilities when given the right environment to reveal them. Our voyages provide this by emphasising communication, trust-building, and graded responsibility.

As young people step aboard Helen Mary R, they begin to discover the extent of their potential.

Unleashing the Best in Young People

Sail Training is about discovering inner strengths and capabilities, forging resilience in the face of challenges, and fostering a deep sense of teamwork. As young people step aboard Helen Mary R, they begin to discover the extent of their potential.

When confidence builds, we introduce young people to the concept of becoming a Watch Leader, joining the Project as a volunteer, and giving back. For some, this spark of something bigger is a real catalyst for change.

The leadership qualities fostered through becoming a Junior Watch Leader don’t just benefit young people in the present – the personal growth and skills gained set them up for lifelong success.

Developing strong communication, strategic thinking, and teamwork capabilities from a young age provides an invaluable foundation. It’s much harder to learn these skills as an adult. By focusing on leadership development, we ensure young people build competence and confidence to continue opening doors for them long into the future.

We allow young people to discover their natural talents and stretch emerging abilities. Through exciting sailing adventures that build grit and determination, we equip young people to handle real-world responsibilities gracefully.

The ultimate aim is to give them the tools to develop into capable, self-assured young adults who can navigate any situation with poise and skill. The power of believing in yourself turns ambitions into reality. Our young people realise through small wins at sea that their potential is limitless.

We believe in recognising and promoting young leaders based on their merits. The journey towards becoming a Junior Watch Leader is not handed out; it is earned through dedication, commitment, and a display of potential.

By doing so, we reinforce the importance of hard work and perseverance. This meritocratic approach creates an environment where individuals are motivated to give their best, knowing their efforts will be recognised and rewarded.

The ripple effect of this approach is evident in the positive outcomes that extend beyond sailing and to new young people who sail with us. Nothing is more powerful than a young person, near the trainee’s age, being a mentor and positive role model.

Opening new and exciting avenues

“Nothing is truly stopping anyone from becoming the skipper”.

Giving young people incremental responsibility that stretches yet does not overwhelm fosters immense growth. As our new Junior Watch Leaders gain proficiency in sailing skills, we provide opportunities for them to lead evolutions aboard, from sail hoists to cooking.

These first tastes of leadership are incredible confidence boosters as young people realise their potential to guide and support others. We carefully scaffold these experiences so they feel challenged but not overwhelmed as they navigate new leadership duties. These small but empowering wins set the stage for massive transformation.

New for 2024 (fingers crossed; we're still working this one out), we hope to formally train Watch Leaders using the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Competent Crew and Watch Leader courses. These certificates enable Watch Leaders to showcase their skills to future maritime employers.

We partner with organisations providing discounted online courses for those who wish to continue on the path to professional sailing careers. Gaining RYA credentials and logging sailing hours takes our new Watch Leaders to the next level.

As a side note – We know that Sailing Qualifications are expensive. But we aim to deliver RYA Competent Crew and Watch Leader courses at no cost. We have found a provider to give our Watch Leaders a 40% reduction in the RYA Day Skipper theory course online.

Once at RYA Day Skipper, there is the potential for Watch Leaders to be put forward to the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) and Trinity House Maritime Charity to provide career development bursaries.

These bursaries, funded by Trinity House and administered by ASTO, offer financial assistance to help our crew pursue higher certificates of competency and other professional sailing qualifications. Eligible candidates can receive funding towards training and exam tuition costs needed for advancement. For crew who demonstrate dedication but lack the means, this program removes barriers blocking professional growth.

The vision

Our ultimate aim is to establish a leadership pipeline where young people progress from Junior Watch Leader up the ranks to Watch Leader, Watch Officer, Mate and eventually, Skipper. Our young Watch Leaders become powerful role models for incoming trainees as they move up through positions.

Imagine the impact of a Skipper who was once in those same young persons’ shoes just years prior. They can intimately understand and validate young people’s experiences. Creating a cycle where each "graduating class" mentors the next wave. They exemplify firsthand the personal growth that comes from this vision. Their journey inspires young people to imagine all they can achieve.

Many young people in Cornwall lack visible role models and exposure to diverse career paths. Providing hands-on sailing experiences opens young people’s eyes to the possibility of marine sector careers. More broadly, it sparks imagination and ambition that transfers across pursuits. When trusted mentors demonstrate pathways to advancement, young people conceive more expansive visions of their potential. This ripple effect lifts individuals and whole communities.

Set Sail Towards Growth and Opportunity

At Morvargh Sailing Project, we are dedicated to nurturing leadership and unlocking potential in young people. We've always believed that one of the successes in running Morvargh lies in the strength of our 'boat family.'

Here, we are not just a crew; we are a tight-knit community bound by a shared love for sailing and an unwavering commitment to helping young people achieve their potential! Our leadership training sets children up for lifelong success by instilling competence and self-belief from an early age. As one young person said:

“I learned that my voice can make a difference and that I’m capable of more than I ever imagined.”

If you want to spur your child’s development and expand their horizons, you can find a voyage here: We would love to have you join our boat family!


Morvargh Sailing Project is a Community Interest Company registered in England No: 07132688. Registered address: Willow Barn, Lower Bodwen, Redmoor, PL30 5AT


Fowey, Cornwall



+44 (0)7481 546577

Vessel Location:

50°20'00.8"N 4°37'46.9"W

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