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Gentoo Sailing Team is passionate about supporting the next generation of sailors. Since 2022, the team has run a Youth Development Programme, seeing huge success with the 30+ sailors who have been part of the initiative.

In 2024, the programme has relaunched as the "Gentoo Academy"


This year, 8 sailors aged 18-24 have come together from all different backgrounds in sailing and life through a shared passion for the ocean and the sport of sailing.

The Academy will adopt a new structure, delivering more time and resource for each sailor in order to more efficiently develop and support each individual need. More emphasis will be on training on the IMOCA 60 with skipper, James Harayda.

This year, the Academy will include technical experience during refits, being part of the shore team before and after IMOCA Globe Series events, at IMOCA race villages, and during the testing and development of Gentoo ahead of the 2024 Vendée Globe.

Each sailor receives mentoring and 1-2-1 support in order to achieve their unique ambitions within the sport and industry.

We are fortunate to have the continued support of our trustee, Dee Caffari MBE. Dee has completed six round the world races, and is the first woman to circumnavigate the globe solo and non-stop in both directions. Dee has also skippered a team in the Volvo Ocean Race, and completed the Vendée Globe amongst countless other achievements on and off-the-water.

Hear what the sailors have to say...


Ellie Clark

During the programme I learnt a variety of different skills including boat maintenance, splicing, and navigation. I absolutely loved my time with the IMOCA and getting to sail on it in deliveries; they were amazing insights into high performance sailing on large boats. It allowed me to develop my short-handed sailing and learn better decision making. I’m studying for an MSc in physiology and would love to help support sailors as well as seeing how far I can go within big boat sailing. Overall my experience within Gentoo was amazing. It’s such an awesome team to be involved with!

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Cameron Hook

"From attending IMOCA events to shorthanded sailing on the IMOCA and Farr X2, the Programme has allowed me to take my sailing ability to the next level. I've learnt so many technical skills through the workshops and sailing with james both inshore and offshore.

So far I have loved every moment of being part of the programme - sailing an IMOCA would never have been possible without Gentoo. Thanks to James I have also secured a job onboard a sailing super yacht, competing in major regattas. My goal now is to race in the Mini Transat."


Freya Skingley

"Being part of the Gentoo Youth Programme for two years has allowed me to become more confident in my sailing and expand my knowledge in the industry, particularly through the various workshops. In particular, I found both the navigation and the sail design workshops very informative.

Being involved in the IMOCA not only allowed for great sailing but I also loved getting involved with maintenance and preparation for races. My ultimate goal is the Vendée Globe, and the Youth Programme has been great to give me an insight into this side of sailing."


Jake Wills

"I have been part of the Gentoo Youth Initiative for over two years. The programme has given me offshore race coaching from world class athletes like Dee Caffari, working on the shore team, sailing on the IMOCA, and access to mentoring and technical workshops.

A  highlight for me was sailing Gentoo back from France after the Fastnet Race,  which was an experience I could only dream of without the Youth Programme. This has all been helping with my goal of designing high-performance racing yachts like IMOCAs in the future."

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