The sight of small sailing dinghies being skippered single-handed by equally small children is common from May to October on the Helford River. The children, aged 8 to 18, are involved in our innovative programme of accelerated learning, designed to build confidence and self-esteem which, in turn, has proven to accelerate academic learning. The fact that it also happens to be great fun is an added bonus.

Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust provides the opportunity for every child in the schools we serve to:

  • learn to kayak and sail single-handed
  • discover love and respect for the sea
  • gain confidence for life
  • accelerate academic learning

We also offer training in sailing and powerboating for adults.

Now the next big step.

As a result of some major bequests, the Trust has recently been able to acquire a 25 acre flooded quarry on the Lizard at Trevassack.

It is intended that this will complement the existing operations on the river and will importantly become a superb facility for children with Special Needs and Disabilities, both locally and from all over the country.  Design and development work is well under way. The next year will be one of committed fund-raising efforts to make this a reality.

trevassackFind out more about the Trevassack Lake

Find out more about the Trust

Download the HRCST Annual Review 2016

Become a Friend of HRCST

Financial contributions from our friends are vital to enable the Trust to continue its work. If you would like to become a Friend of the Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust, please visit our Donations page.

Sep 23, 2017 - Sat
Falmouth United Kingdom
clear sky
Wind 15 Knots, SSE
Pressure 1016 mbar
Humidity 82%
Clouds -
sat sun mon tue wed

Diary Dates

Autumn Term Sailing

11th September 2017 to 6th October 2017

Volunteers wanted

Volunteers are essential to the viability of the Children’s Sailing Trust. Volunteers help with safety boats and general support for the Sailing Instructors on and off the water.

We would like to recruit many more volunteers, especially with Trevassack Lake coming on stream over the next few years. There is plenty to do and it is all enjoyable and rewarding!  We will welcome you and we will train you.

  • Boat maintenance
  • Fundraising
  • Preparing the site at Trevassack
  • Safety boat operators
  • Sailing instruction and assistance

If you are interested, please contact
Charles Richardson:
or Mike Comyn:

Aug 2017

HRCST 20th anniversary

Margaret Green very kindly hosted a party at Calamansac in Port Navas on Sunday 6th August to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Trust. John Green, Margaret's late husband, started HRCST at Calamansac in 1997 with a few boats and a lot of determination and enthusiasm. Today the Trust operates over 80 boats and teaches more than 600 children each year.


Aug 2017

Living life on the edge – young sailors crew Black Dog to racing victory!

The five children who joined the crew of racing yacht Black Dog Team Gul and went on to score a win on the opening day of Falmouth Week [6 August] described their experience with an emphatic “amazing!”.

“Hiking out over the edge at speed was incredible,” said Ross Payne, 12, while 13-year-old Ollie Heffernan added: “It was challenging but really exciting. We had to work as a team to solve problems and keep the boat ahead of our competitors.”

The small team – Ross and Ollie plus fellow sailors Jacob Midgley, Gabriel Faulkner, and Rowan Skingley, came via the Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust (HRCST), a Cornwall charity dedicated to helping young people discover a love and respect for the sea through learning to sail and kayak.

Guided by Stuart Sawyer, owner and skipper of Black Dog and the rest of Team Gul, the children had chance to put the skills they’ve developed with HRCST into practice in a real regatta race in a fully competitive environment.

“The children got stuck in from the moment they came on board,” said Stuart. “We did a safety briefing and agreed boat positions and then they immediately set to work with the team, who were great in teaching and supporting them. It was good to see the children helping in various roles, from winching up the mainsail, trimming the 155sqm spinnaker and dropping the sails. All the crew took time to steer the boat and got stuck in. The wind really came up as we entered the Helford River, with 18 knots, so they were all hiking out and did a fantastic job. We are huge supporters of the Trust and all they do for children through sailing, so it was great to be able to help the charity.”

Mike Comyn, HRCST chief instructor, added: “What a memorable experience for the children. I am delighted to hear how well they performed. Many thanks to Stuart and his crew for providing this marvellous opportunity.”

For Gabriel Faulker, it was a chance to progress from sailing single-handed to working as part of a dynamic racing crew. He said: “As I boarded Black Dog I felt over-awed. As the youngest member of the crew, I knew I had to focus on this big boat and be ready to step up to the mark. The crew were amazing and settled my nerves. By the end of the race, with victory in sight, I felt my confidence and sailing had jumped to another level. It taught me to aim high.”

“It was a brilliant experience,” added Rowan Skingley. “It was very different to what we were used to and very fast – our average speed was around 6.5 knots, and we hit 10 knots going downwind!”


Aug 2017

Falmouth racing yacht plans to ‘Trust the Children’!

Falmouth racing yacht ‘Black Dog’ is being turned over to a group of children on Sunday [6 August], for the first day of Falmouth Week!

A team of children has been selected to race on Falmouth’s most competitive racing yacht, Black Dog. All of them come via Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust (HRCST), a south-west charity dedicated to helping young people discover a love and respect for the sea through learning to sail and kayak.


Jul 2017

Curnow School

It’s been another successful term for HRCST’s students with special educational needs – including the post-16-year-olds from Curnow School, seen here enjoying a Thursday morning session at Calamansack.

“Sailing with HRCST is one of the highlights of their year,” said Curnow School group leader Neil Pellow-Firth. “The sessions provide the students with a unique opportunity to develop not just their self confidence and teamwork skills, but also their understanding of water safety. The HRCST team is amazing. Our students and staff love every minute of the experience.”


Jul 2017

Interschools Regatta

Congratulations Trannack!

and thanks to Andrea Oakes for these photos:

Jul 2017


More than 30 young sailors tackled lively conditions at the Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust (HRCST) junior regatta on 1st July – many of them gaining their first taste of racing.

The children raced single-handed in three dinghy categories, Optimist, RS Tera and Laser Pico, in a day that combined coaching with competition.


Jun 2017


We have launched some new dates for our holiday courses this summer. Check out holiday-courses for more info and booking.

May 2017

Team Work

Awesome day up the river as the new sailors experienced the open water of the east end. Feisty winds tested Mullion and Constantine sailors off Grebe beach. I was proud of the whole team's efforts.

Children, volunteers and staff all set the bar for the summer season. Thanks go to the lead sailors today who sacrificed their own strong-wind fun to help their younger or less experienced school mates.

Mike Comyn

© Helford River Children's Sailing Trust