Weymouth and Portland Nation Sailing Academy news articles

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) is ready for another year of water based action.  Some of the braver youths are taking to the winter waters of Portland Harbour as early as February and March sailing in the Topper, Laser and 420 dinghy Classes.  The WPNSA has confirmed six national ranking events across the year for Olympic Classes as well as five National Championships and a multitude of regional events.
The Royal Yachting Association’s Youth National Championships, one of the most important annual events in a youth sailor’s racing calendar, heads back to the Academy for a 2nd consecutive year with racing from 4-10th April.

The International Sailing Federation, Sailing World Cup will also return to Weymouth and Portland in 2015.  Peter Allam, Chief Executive, WPNSA ,explains the importance of this event, “part of a five event global series, staging racing in Melbourne, Miami, Hyeres, Weymouth and Portland as well as Qingdao, this will be the highest profile event to be held at the Academy for 2015. With 678 sailors having competed recently in Miami, the ISAF Sailing World Cup will pull the elite athletes back to UK shores”.  Dubbed as the ‘road to the Olympics’ it is a chance to mix with the stars of the sailing world from the 8-14th June.

John Derbyshire, RYA Racing Manager:
“The RYA has a long-standing relationship with WPNSA, which has played host to a number of its flagship regattas over the years and provides great inspiration and legacy for the sailing community as the home of the London 2012 sailing competitions.
As well as Weymouth and Portland providing the performance training base for the British Sailing Team, 2015 will see WPNSA welcome back elite level World Cup sailing for the Olympic and Paralympic Classes as part of the revamped ISAF world tour, with WPNSA also hosting the RYA Youth National Championships – the pinnacle event in the UK Youth Racing calendar.  We’re looking forward to some spectacular racing in world class surroundings!”

August is a big month for youngsters during the summer holidays.  The Topper National Championship runs 1-7th August and with nearly 50,000 boats sold worldwide this event will guarantee a packed start line.  Also designed for single handed youth sailing the RS Tera fleet will host their National Championship on site from the 28-31st August.

Ian Jameson, Chairman, RS Tera Class Association:
“The RS Tera Class Association has decided to return to WPNSA for 2015 following our fantastic events held on site at Weymouth and Portland for the 2013 National and World Championships.  Not only is the WPNSA world class with all the facilities you could ever need to run a major championship, the staff and volunteers really make it a very special place.  The other selling point of the venue is the availability of sailing water ideal for running junior class events where sailors’ safety is the primary consideration.  The RS Tera fleet will be competing in Portland Harbour and joined by a coached regatta fleet , the event will run alongside the first RS Aero National Championship over the August Bank Holiday weekend”.

The Academy schedule continues with autumnal action; everyone is welcome to get involved in the second annual Bart’s Bash taking place on the 20th September.  The first week of October is dedicated to speed with the pilgrimage to Weymouth Speed Week.

Visitors are welcome during events to view the racing from the open air deck and indoor café, parking is free of charge. A full guide to events can be viewed online: www.wpnsa.org.uk

Pico Launching with Kayaks in Foreground






Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy continues to attract sailors across all generations to the venue © Cailah Leask 2014

Pete in Dinghy Park







Peter Allam, Chief Executive, WPNSA is delighted with his 2015 events calendar © Geoff Moore 2014

Lasers Racing






The WPNSA will host the RYA Youth Nationals for a second year © Paul Wyeth 2014

Former Chairman of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), Edward Leask, has been awarded both an OBE and a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Community Award for Outstanding Contribution.

Director of the WPNSA, Sir Ben Ainslie commented on the double award, “Edward Leask has made a real impact on the sailing scene, an Olympic sailor himself he had the foresight to help initiate the development of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.  He is a key player in ensuring the sports venue has a successful and sustained legacy following 2012.  His title is well deserved; Edward has earned this through a lifelong commitment to bettering the sport of sailing in the UK”.

Announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, Edward received his OBE for Sailing, Young People and Philanthropy.  Edward attended his investiture at Windsor Castle with a presentation by the Duke of Cambridge.  The following month Edward was also recognised by the Royal Yachting Association for his exceptional voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing with a presentation by HRH Princess Anne last week at Westminster.  Sarah Treseder Chief Executive of the Royal Yachting Association said,Edward unreservedly gave his time, money, energy and expertise to develop WPNSA into a world class venue that maximises the legacy of 2012 for both the local and wider sailing communities.  I’m delighted that he has accepted an RYA Outstanding Contribution Award in recognition of his contribution and lasting achievement”.

A twice Olympian himself, Edward has offered his services to the Academy ever since its inception during 2000, “I am truly honoured to be named for such prestigious awards, my work alongside the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy has been exceptionally rewarding, and I look forward to continuing to encourage the sport and legacy agenda for young people in years to come”.

Both awards mark Edward’s involvement with the WPNSA where he was Chairman from 2007 through to 2013.  This time frame included the development of the Academy into the sailing competition venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as delivering a strong legacy agenda.

Peter Allam, Chief Executive at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is pleased that a key player in the Academy’s success has been recognised at a top level, “the titles Edward has received have been rewarding for the whole of the WPNSA team.  It is extremely positive that our former Chairman has been publicly appreciated for his commitment to the Academy over the years”.

Edward Leask OBE © Leask 2014








Edward Leask OBE © Leask 2014

Edward Leask was presented his OBE by the Duke of Cambridge ©BCA 2014






Edward Leask was presented his OBE by the Duke of Cambridge © BCA 2014

Edward Leask was awarded an RYA Volunteer Award by HRH Princess Anne © RYA 2014 2_opt

Edward Leask was awarded an RYA Volunteer Award by HRH Princess Anne © RYA 2014




























Team Sky learnt the ropes on a team building day with the British Sailing Team at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA).  Top riders including Tour de France winner Chris Froome and double Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas swapped two wheels for three sails at the high profile sporting venue which is now attracting not only the world’s top sailors and windsurfers but also top athletes from other sports.

A day of team building for Team Sky on site at the WPNSA previewed the sailing day, allowing the elite cyclists to make full use of the 2012 Olympic Sailing venue’s facilities and catering.  As well as the obligatory fitness testing, Team Principal Sir David Brailsford used his team’s time to address all the staff and riders of Team Sky in Spinnakers Room overlooking Portland Harbour.

80 members of Team Sky were on site at WPNSA where they were ably assisted by some of Britain’s best Olympic and Paralympic Classes talents including WPNSA Director and Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas as well as double Olympic medallist Nick Dempsey and silver medallist Luke Patience.

Talking about the decision to run their post season team building at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy Team Principal, Brailsford commented, “this year we just thought we wanted to do something a bit different in a world class, high performance environment”.

Three ‘opening series’ races were held before the final Olympic-style double points medal race provided an exciting finale to the afternoon, with the British Sailing Team’s Alain Sign and Kate Mardel-Ferreria, and Sunsail crew Pete Walters and Jon Nabney guiding Team Sky’s Nathan Earle, Bernie Eisel, Hussein Fahmy, Soren Kristiansen, Xabier Artetxe, David Rozman, Rajen Murugayan and Tim Kerrison to the top step of the winner’s podium.

Team Sky training © Team Sky






Team Sky training © Team Sky

Team Sky in action © Team Sky






Team Sky in action © Team Sky

Sir Dave Brailsford and team






Sir Dave Brailsford and team

WPNSA Director Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas in action with  Team Sky






WPNSA Director Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas in action

Luke Patience with Chris Froome on the helm






Luke Patience with Chris Froome on the helm

Nick Dempsey with Geraint Thomas on the helm






Nick Dempsey with Geraint Thomas on the helm

Win your chance to dine for free at the WPNSA during the festive month of December.

Start celebrating Christmas early and enjoy a lunch for 2 people at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy’s café with stunning views across Portland Harbour.

To enter the competition please email your details to reception@wpnsa.org.uk by 30th November 2014.

Best of luck!


For more details of the competition please see our Terms and Conditions.

Topper PhotoLooking for something fun to do this October? Well look no further because the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing academy has teamed up with the market leading provider of activity courses and holidays PGL to bring you an exclusive opportunity for you and a friend to win an action packed session on the water at the 2012 Olympic Venue. 

For your chance to win, simply tell us in no more than one sentence why you like Weymouth and Portland! 

Please send your answers to guestcare.osmingtonbay@pgl.co.ukby October 15th. 

Click here for terms and conditions

Good luck!

OTCThe ‘Official Test Centre’ (OTC), UK’s ultimate venue for windsurfing and stand up paddle boarding (SUP), located at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is offering you the opportunity to win a free taster session to try your hand at both sports.

To enter simply email info@otc-windsurf.com.

The OTC was developed by Tris Best in order for the public to try and compare a wide variety of equipment in the favourable conditions of Portland Harbour.  The centre offers everyone the chance to have their first taste of windsurfing or paddle boarding and to compare equipment from a range of brands for themselves; it is also an affiliated windsurfing school across all levels of ability.

The purpose built facilities with a dedicated on site windsurf shop overlook the 2012 Olympic windsurf race course and provide a safe and sheltered environment for those trying the sports for the first time.

http://uk.otc-windsurf.com/OTC 2

Click here for Terms & Conditions


‘Sip and puff’ sailing teen Natasha ‘Miss Isle’ Lambert today (Friday 25 July) cruised through day two of her Sea and Summit Challenge and immediately declared “I want to go faster!Miss Isle Too

The 17-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and controls her boat by breathing through a straw in a specially-engineered bicycle helmet, arrived at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on schedule almost six hours after departing the RNLI College in Poole, and was cheered in by a crowd of well-wishers including several members of Chesil Sailability and some of the British Sailing Team Paralympic squad.

After having to contend with the hottest sail of her life on the opening leg from her hometown of Cowes yesterday, Natasha enjoyed slightly cooler temperatures and more breeze as she completed the 27 mile journey along Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast.

But the Isle of Wight teenager was very clear what she wants on the next leg to Exmouth this weekend.

More wind!” she insisted as dad Gary laughed.“We’re not going fast enough for Tash,” he said. “She wants to go faster! We had about eight knots at times today, which compared to yesterday was quite good, so we had a steady pace.

sea and summit “We might not be breaking any World Records with speed but what a stunning place to sail. We’ve never sailed around this part of the coastline and it was such a beautiful day the coastline looked breathtaking. It was so interesting seeing the geology change along the way. Tash has got to enjoy doing this challenge and it’s days like this that are great for her and the little’un (Tash’s younger sister Rachel) to see such fantastic scenery. It’s an education.” 

With the final part of the Sea and Summit Challenge to climb Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, Natasha is also keeping up her physical fitness by walking in her special walking frame, called a Hart Walker, at the end of each day’s sail.

Gary admits striking a balance between fitness and rest and relaxation is an important routine for the family to get into as the challenge progresses.

He added: “Tash is in really good spirits. Straight after sailing she needs to get out of her wheelchair and into her walker just to stretch off and move about, then it’s a case of having some food and bed by about 9pm. The routine is already becoming a bit more familiar, this is the way we need to work it and certainly by the end of the trip we’re going to be running on rails.” 

Through the Sea and Summit challenge Natasha will sail 430 miles and climb 2,907ft to raise money for the RNLI, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and the RYA Foundation, as well as the profile of sailing for people with disabilities.

Hugh de Iongh, Chair of Chesil Sailability, said: “Chesil Sailability are delighted and proud to welcome Natasha to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Natasha is an inspiration to us all with her drive and enthusiasm, pushing boundaries and her focus on what she is able to do, not on her disability.  Good luck with your trip, Natasha we will be following your progress!”

Sea and Summit is Natasha’s biggest challenge yet – a month-long project sailing her specially-designed 21ft yacht, Miss Isle Too, single-handed around the South West coast of England to Wales. She will then swap her boat for her Hart Walker to climb Pen y Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain. Last year she sailed across the English Channel, and in 2012, the 50-miles around the Isle of Wight.

Sailing has been Natasha’s big love since she first went on holiday with the Calvert Trust aged nine. She then started sailing at home and spent two years sailing with the Even Keel Project and her local RYA Sailability.

To support Natasha’s challenge visit www.missisle.com

For more information on getting involved in disability sailing visit www.rya.org.uk/sailability

Win a 2 day Sailing Course at the newly opened Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre!

To enter answer the following question:

What has inspired you to learn how to sail at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy?

Please send your answers to weymouth@andrewsimpsonsailing.org

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre is RYA accredited, delivering a range of sailing courses for young people, community organisations and adults; including programs for schools, as well as club sailors.

Click here for Terms and Conditions


BART_M4425The Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre was today officially launched at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), with a poignant introduction by Andrew Simpson’s close friends and Olympic sailing partners, Sir Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy OBE. 

Peter Allam, Chief Executive of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, sees the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre (ASSC) as a perfect fit alongside the other on site partners at WPNSA, delivering grass roots tuition right through to advanced race coaching for all age groups. The ASSC will also work with The Chesil Trust to deliver the ‘Rod Shipley Sail for a Fiver’ scheme that has introduced over 12,000 young people to sailing and through the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation will provide additional support to help young people who are passionate about sailing to reach their potential.

The Royal Yachting Association accredited centre will provide a focal point to remember Andrew Simpson’s outstanding achievements. Andrew was passionate about inspiring people of all ages to take up sailing and the ASSC represents a tremendous opportunity to help provide a pathway from beginner through to whatever level individuals may aspire to, from recreational sailor to Olympic hopeful. 

Honouring a member of the Olympic sailing team is particularly significant for Peter having himself represented Great Britain twice at the Olympic Games, bringing home a Bronze medal in 1984. More recently, being the London 2012 Olympic Games Sailing Deputy Competition Manager and the Paralympic Games Sailing Competition Manager, Peter was present when Andrew won a second Olympic medal on home waters.

Sir Ben Ainslie, commented, “Today is a very poignant day, but also a really exciting one to be opening the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre. I would like to say a huge thanks to the Trustees of the Foundation, for all the efforts they have put in over the last 12 months, especially Leah and Iain for their vision and leadership to get us to this point; and all the volunteers that have helped us. We are starting our activity, including subsidising sailing sessions for children, on a local level, but want to partner with clubs from around the country with similar objectives; and ultimately do that on a global scale. It’s fantastic to see what has been achieved in such a short space of time; and I’m sure the great man would be very proud.”

Peter Allam, Chief Executive of the WPNSA, will work alongside Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy to inspire a new generation of sailing ©onEdition

Optimist sailors rigging up at the WPNSA (c) Dorset Media 2010The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) has announced a prestigious new collaboration with the ‘Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation’ (ASSF).  The ASSF founded by the Academy’s Director, Sir Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy OBE and Andrew’s wife Leah to honour his life and legacy, will be opening the ‘Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre’ at the same venue where Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson competed during the Olympic Games.

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, based in Andrew’s home county of Dorset, will act as a hub for all of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation’s activities, helping the Foundation fulfil its charitable objectives.  The RYA accredited Centre will open in May 2014 offering a range of sailing courses for young people, community organisations and adults; including programmes for schools, as well as club sailors.

Peter Allam, Chief Executive at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy explains the relevance to the local community; ’the ASSF has agreed to work closely with the Academy and the Chesil Trust to deliver the ‘Rod Shipley Sail for a Fiver’ scheme which has to date assisted 12,000 local children to experience sailing on the waters of Portland Harbour. The scheme has run successfully for 10 years and currently introduces 1,500 children to water sports annually.  The Academy is committed long term to inspiring the next generation through sailing.  Working in hand with the ASSF, this relationship will make a significant contribution to the ongoing development of the Olympic and Paralympic sailing legacy here at the WPNSA’.

Amanda Simpson, Andrew’s sister and a Trustee of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation as well as being an accomplished sailor in her own right commented, ‘this is a fantastic opportunity for ASSF to engage with grass roots sailing in a place where Andrew spent much of his youth and adult sailing life.  We look forward to working with local and national communities to make this venture at the WPNSA a huge success’.

To book a course or to find out more about the Centre’s activities please contact:

Warren Surtees

Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre

+44 (0)780 555 7068


You can also visit www.andrewsimpsonsailing.org/weymouth to register your interest