Diary of a CST Sailing Instructor

Children’s Sailing Trust transforms lives through watersports. The joy and pride from just one child succeeding in getting out on the water fuels each and every member of staff who works here – the watersports team get to share their passion for sailing with young children and some of them are set on a path for life. Some of the children we teach continue sailing on through in to adult life and their children are now joining our school programmes.

One of our sailing instructors, Lucy, describes how she came to work here and the difference it makes:

I work for Children’s Sailing Trust, a charity in Cornwall that offers subsidised sailing sessions for local children to help grow their confidence, competence and resilience. The Trust started in 1997 on the Helford River with just a couple of boats, some volunteers and a love of sailing. In 25 years it has come so far and we are still giving amazing opportunities to local children. 

I started working with the Trust in April 2021 and have loved every moment of It. Last summer was spent working on the Helford River helping children learn to sail and encourage their confidence to grow. Then in October 2021, the Trust opened Trevassack Lake HQ, a fully accessible watersports centre plus holiday accommodation set around a 10 acre, freshwater lake, to enable all ages and abilities to get out on the water no matter what their needs. The winter was spent helping set up the lake to ensure it was ready for the summer season and now I split my time working between the river and lake.

I grew up sailing in a local club with my family and attended many sailing days run by volunteers at the club. The enthusiasm and love that these volunteers had for the water inspired me to become an instructor myself. Getting my instructor qualification allowed me to travel to Greece to teach and then brought me down to Cornwall to continue sharing my love for sailing.

Like me, a lot of people get into sailing through a club atmosphere so if you are new to sailing try contacting a local club, such as CST Sailing Club, to get an idea of the best way to get involved and learn the basics. From there, a club can support you further. Anyone that is looking to getting into teaching might benefit from volunteering at their local club to get a feel for what teaching is all about. Local clubs tend to be looking for local volunteers to either help teach their youth members or help improve their adult members’ sailing ability.


I love that every day is different - the joy of teaching is what brings me and other instructors back season after season.
CST Sailing Instructor Lucy
Lucy Burton
CST Sailing Instructor

A season teaching sailing involves a lot of extra jobs as well as tuition. Powerboats and dinghys go through a lot throughout a season meaning there is always some sort of maintenance to be done. You start to quickly learn how to use different tools and fix some of the strangest of issues. It’s also essential to keep the boats as clean as possible to keep them in tip-top condition – salt water is the worst for metal fixings! With teaching, you don’t stop when the children leave as it’s important to record what happened in each session. This helps track the progress of everyone within the group and ensure that they achieve what they need to complete towards any qualifications.

With all this in mind, it is essential that the kit we wear is suitable for what we do. Sometimes the weather can take a turn (especially in the UK) and our clothes should keep us warm and ready for these situations. As instructors we love something we can quickly throw over the top of other kit to keep us warm. Instructors tend to have a lot of kit so we can be appropriately dressed in all weathers.

I love that every day is different – the joy of teaching is what brings me and other instructors back season after season. For me, seeing the difference in the children from when we met them to when they leave is the best feeling. Teaching for Children’s Sailing Trust allows me to adapt and ensure sailing is available to everyone. We are hoping to keep growing and allowing more children to develop through us. 

Teaching children to sail
CST Sailing Instructor Lucy

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