The British Empire and the Power of Trade, Teamwork and Leadership

% The proportion of the world’s oceans dominated by Britain at the height of the British Empire
% The proportion of the world’s population governed by Britain at the height of the British Empire


  • To provide participants with a good understanding of Britain’s maritime history and its critical role in the creation of the British Empire
  • To explore the lessons from this history which are still relevant today in relation to leadership, trade, parliamentary democracy and culture
  • To learn the key facets of leadership from the experience of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, other leading figures in British Maritime history and through the direct experience of sailing both dinghies and yachts
  • To learn to sail both dinghies and yachts, gaining practical skills as well as an understanding of weather and sailing theory
  • To experience first-hand life on board a classic sailing boat, gaining an understanding, appreciation and practice in teamwork and leadership



Have you ever wondered why English is the global language? Or how a tiny island came to have such a large influence over the world?  These are some of the questions that our clients have asked us and that we relish answering on the British Maritime History and Sailing programme.

Programmes sometimes focus on one individual, but the British Maritime History and Sailing programme covers the roles of key individuals while looking at the broader sweep of history.  In this case we look at key leaders such as Admiral Lord Nelson, as well as the role of Britain’s navy and maritime capabilities in the creation of Empire.  This ensures that participants have a masterclass in leadership while also learning about British culture and gaining lifelong practical skills.

Our British Maritime History and Sailing programme combines developing an understanding of a key part of British history, with learning the art of sailing and undertaking a masterclass in leadership. The programme also provides the opportunity to explore beautiful parts of the British coastline, the countryside and the heart of London.

The programme is divided into three main sections:

  • British Maritime History– Starting in London and then progressing to Portsmouth, we explore Britain’s maritime history from the earliest times. We go behind the scenes at locations of key importance in British Maritime history with eminent curators and historians as our tutors
  • Dinghy Sailing– Clients learn to sail in the home of British and world sailing. Facilities are well-suited to both adults and children with specialist, well-qualified instructors who can ensure that everyone progresses and builds their practical experience.  Dinghies are available to suit both children and adults.  Theoretical dimensions of the art of sailing are also covered to ensure a full understanding which will lead to certificates being awarded
  • Yacht Sailing– Clients progress to sailing on either classic or modern yachts, depending on their preference. While each yacht will have a professional skipper and crew, all clients will learn the key aspects of yacht sailing to progress towards the Royal Yacht Association Competent Crew certificate. Teamwork and leadership are key dimensions of life on board the yachts so all participants will benefit from gaining both practical skills and character-building experience.

Key Learnings

Subject matter expertise

Subject Matter

  • An understanding of Britain’s maritime history and its critical role in the creation of the British Empire
  • An understanding of British culture and the relevance of our maritime history
Leadership characteristics


  • Lessons in leadership from Admiral Lord Nelson’s life and a comparison with other leaders and statesmen from the late 18thand early 19th centuries
  • Teamwork and Collaboration – practical experience in sailing dinghies and yachts which emphasises the value of teamwork and leadership
  • Creativity – solving problems creatively
Learning new life-skills


  • Practical sailing experience, supported by the theoretical knowledge of the weather and the elements required to sail safely and efficiently
  • Confidence – to overcome inhibitions and perform effectively
  • Determination – to face challenges and achieve the best possible performance

By 1815 Great Britain had acquired the largest empire the world had ever seen, encompassing 43 colonies in 5 continents

Niall Ferguson

How an archipelago of rainy islands off the north-west coast of Europe came to rule the world is one of the fundamental questions not just of British but of world history

Niall Ferguson

The sun never sets on the British Empire

Christopher North

Learning Approach & Key Specialists

  • Learning by doing, through the direct experience and under the instruction of experts in each field, whether in learning about British Maritime history from eminent historians and curators or building the practical skills of sailing and leadership from the well-qualified sailing instructors
  • Our key specialists include the Emeritus Curator of British Maritime History at the National Maritime Museum who has written dozens of books on many different aspects of maritime history. Others are specialist academics, marine archaeologists and curators who are particularly experienced in each aspect of the programme
  • A Daily Workbook is used to guide each participant on the subjects covered and the key learnings
  • Interpreters are PhD level native Chinese speakers who are specialists in each field of study

What our clients think…

England became the British Empire because of its sailing skills. What I like the most is that you can feel this part of its history at the Royal Yacht Squadron, you can even feel it from the desk on the yacht.

Learning how to sail is not only about responsibility, but also about trusting your teammates. For example when you are climbing the rope that your teammate tied, you have to trust the teammate, you are literally trusting him/her with your life.

We lived by the same schedule everyday (when we were living on the boat): in the morning we would raise the mast together and in the afternoon, we take it down. We eat and clean our dishes…the food was great. You can ponder about so many things on the open sea, it is so different from our everyday lives. It feels amazing.

I’m trying to become used to fishing, or even like it. I’ve never done it before. The past few days have been great to me. I’ve become stronger, I’ve physically changed a lot. I’ve learned so much, too. I like to face the open sea and think, this gives you so much growth.

Programme bookings

If you are looking to book to attend this learning programme, please first check the schedule and then complete the short form to send us a booking enquiry.


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