If you think of sailing as an elitist, male-dominated sport, you may not be familiar with the Sail Boat Project, a workers’ co-op which aims open up the experience of life at sea.
The co-operative was set up three years ago by a group of enthusiasts and environmentalists who want to offer people the chance to explore the sea — which they view as an often uncharted and threatened wilderness.
Founder member Indra DonFrancesco says the co-op aims to give people “positive” experiences of the sea and get them “into the water to experience the wildlife of the water”.
She first got the sailing bug at the age of 14 on a school trip and has loved it ever since. She now sees it as the perfect means for people to learn more about the marine environment, the wildlife it supports, and the threat posed to it by human activity.
“I’d had some less than positive experiences of sailing,” she said, “but these were due to it being so macho, where everyone seemed to be part of an old boy’s club and where only a few people could afford to participate.