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Sail Training International

EcoMaris’ Cosmic Plankton Expeditions

In 2018, in the wake of the Rendezvous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, we were delighted to be able to launch the Canada Legacy Fund with support from Rendez-Vous Navel de Quebec.

The aim of the fund was to support sail training programs that reach disadvantaged young Canadians. One of the recipients of the fund in both 2018/19 was Ecomaris, an organisation that offers programs and voyages on board their Class B Gaff Ketch of the same name, the first environmental training ship in Quebec. Through our Canada Legacy Fund, they have received Can$17,000 to help develop their Cosmic Plankton programme.

The Program

The programme combined aspects of Sail Training with environmental education. A team of scientists and young people embarked on a voyage to navigate the Gulf of St. Lawrence and explore the mysteries of the universe and the seabed. The voyage brought together 24 vulnerable young people on a seven day internship with the aim of helping them to develop leadership and life skills. The expedition explored the Mingan Archipelago and other areas that are likely to become marine protected.

“In total, we welcomed a board, 24 youth struggling with different problems in their lives, such as poverty and low self esteem. The goals were to build a reliable network and to offer them an opportunity to gain confidence in order to feel empowered to make important changes in their life habits.
“They learned to work as a team, discovered the beauty of the nature of the St Lawrence River and were connected to their passions and talents.”
Lise Nadon, EcoMaris

Creating a positive legacy

The first expedition was such a success that EcoMaris decided to create a second group to offer more youth the opportunity to find themselves while discovering the River. Recruitment was again successful with the natural appeal of sailing the ability for EcoMaris to leverage partner organisations who also work with at-risk youth.

As a result of their participation in the program, the young participants saw tangible success. Following the experience, 94% of the participants improved their life quality by going back to school or finding employment, stopping the use of illegal substances, have modified their social circle and acquired the tools to recognise their weaknesses and improve upon them.

“An incredible experience with people from everywhere in Quebec. This trip made me realise that I have many qualities and that I could have self-confidence.”

Tommy (Participant)


“Our team is keeping in touch with the trainees that were part of the expeditions this summer and it is heart warming to see all they have accomplished since the trip. Sailing can truly be a life changing experience.
“A very sincere thank you to the Canada Legacy Fund, we truly hope we get the opportunity to offer such life changing experiences in the years to come.”Lise Nadon, EcoMaris

Supporting Sail Training Around the world

Beyond the Tall Ships Races, Sail Training International works closely with the world’s sail training Tall Ships, national sail training organisations and host ports to help young people benefit from the sail training experience. In addition, we regularly organise seminars, fund research and publications relating to the benefits of experiential learning through sail training to young people, and much more.

Every year we continue to be moved, motivated and inspired by the difference participating in sail training makes to young people’s lives. We see young people from all environments, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, grow in confidence, rise to challenges, overcome fears, make lifelong friends and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. Some of the young people we help go on to enjoy careers in the maritime sector whilst others draw on their experience to make their way in the world with their newly acquired confidence and skills.

As we approach our 65th year in an ever changing world, we would like to invite individuals and organisations who believe in young people and whose values resonate with ours to support the work we do.


Help us to continue our vital work in developing young people and promoting international friendship and understanding through a Virgin Just Giving donation.

Funding and Bursaries

Find out more about the different bursaries and funds we provide and how to apply.

The Tall Ships Races 2021 Update

Tall Ships Races International Ltd. and the Tall Ships Races 2021 Host Ports of Klaipeda, Tallinn and Szczecin, have jointly agreed to cancel The Tall Ships Races 2021.

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