RYA Recognised Training

The School is an RYA recognised training establishment based at Alton Water reservoir, located a few minutes from the main campus, with a fleet of RS Tera, Topper, Laser, Firefly, RS Feva, RS200, 29er racing dinghies and more.

A Centre of Excellence for Sailing

All pupils joining in Year 7 try sailing in our learn to sail week and more experienced sailors may choose sailing as their games option. Those joining the Sailing Academy can pursue the sport competitively in both fleet and team racing at school, national and international level. There is also the opportunity to work towards instructor qualifications and take part in weekend sailing expeditions using the School’s fleet of Cornish Shrimpers.

Heritage and Location

As a result of the Royal Hospital School's maritime heritage and watery location next to a 400 acre man-made reservoir and between the Stour and Orwell estuaries, it has become a Centre of Excellence for Sailing with unrivalled provision and opportunity for sailing.

The Royal Hospital School Sailing Academy, based at neighbouring Alton Water Reservoir, is an established RYA Training Centre and has a fleet of more than 50 dinghies catering for every level of sailing; from beginner boats like the RS Tera to team racing Fireflies and Olympic pathway craft such as the Laser and 29er.

On joining the School, all 11 year olds take part in a week-long sailing course when they are taken through the basics to RYA Youth Sailing Scheme Stage 2. Pupils joining in other year groups have the opportunity to learn to sail in the afternoon activity sessions and those with more experience can sail up to four times a week in the summer.



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The School has regular team and fleet racing fixtures against other schools and, through the Sailing Academy, the elite sailors compete at both National and International level. As a recognised RYA Training Centre, the highest levels of safety and tuition are maintained and pupils regularly gain dinghy sailing qualifications as well as qualifications in power boating, windsurfing and dinghy sailing instruction. There is also a fleet of keel boats called Cornish Shrimpers for coastal cruising which are popular in the summer months and for Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme expeditions.

RYA OnBoard

Run by sailing’s National Governing Body, the RYA, OnBoard is a hugely successful grass roots programme which seeks to make sailing and windsurfing easier to access for 8-18 year olds. Launched in 2005 the programme has helped introduce nearly 900,000 young people across the country to sailing and windsurfing.

Hannah Cockle, OnBoard Operations Officer, comments; “It’s great to welcome The Royal Hospital School to the OnBoard programme. Getting out on the water has a huge amount of benefits, no matter what your age, background or ability. We look forward to working with them and the local community to get as many people as possible enjoying our great sport.”

Competition Success

The Royal Hospital School sailing squad are current holders of the BSDRA Kings Challenge Cup; the BSDRA Junior Hoad Shield; the BSDRA Eastern Region Junior Team Racing Championship; and winners of the Suffolk Schools Regatta. As well as team success, many of our elite sailors are seen on the leader boards of both national and international fleet competitions and are represented throughout the RYA squad framework.

Further Afield

The Sailing Department undertake a biennial sailing Tour, in 2017 visiting Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney in Australia. The Tour in 2019 is expected to visit the USA. In addition there are opportunities to get involved in the Tall Ships Challenge and crewing on larger ocean going vessels.


Elite Sailing Programme

Pupils joining the Sailing Academy under the Elite Sailing Programme can do so as Sailing Scholars and are provided with the following:

  • Competition training with RYA Advanced Instructors and Level 3 Racing Coaches
  • Classroom tuition including use of video analysis
  • Individual fitness training programme designed by an elite sports personal trainer
  • Specific dietary advice
  • Use of Sailing Academy equipment for competitions
  • Assistance with tuition and boarding fees at the Royal Hospital School