A Premium Outdoor Adventure Course for High-School Students on Traditional Sailing Yachts

The QBE European Leadership School (ELS) is a non-profit sailing project, offering an outdoor adventure designed to help teens rise to life’s challenges and learn to find safe harbor. It’s remarkable what three weeks of traditional sailing and life skills mentoring can do, especially along the culturally rich, scenic coastlines of western France, the Channel Islands, and the south of England. ELS expeditions are inspirational experiences that expand personal horizons and add impressive texture to any high-school résumé. If you’re down for a singular European adventure, join us next summer for life lessons—and a whole lot of fun—on the open sea! 

(No sailing experience necessary.)

Charting Exciting New Courses

The sea is an exceptional life-skills classroom. Sailing teaches you how to contend with forces you can't control and compels you to rely on crewmates for help. It requires you constantly to adapt to changing weather, winds, and tides to achieve objectives. But it's also tremendously rewarding—there's the thrill of the wind in your hair as you cut through the water and, in our case, the satisfaction of sailing into port on beautiful traditional pilot cutters. Not only are our connoisseurs' sailboats fun (and relatively easy) to sail, but they're the perfect size for teaching self mastery and life's important lessons.

Destinations >

New Life Skills and Confidence

As an ELS crew member you learn to sail, function as an effective leader, and work collaboratively as a member of a team. The many challenges of sailing also help you develop a tenacious problem-solving mentality while individualized mentoring aims to help you organize better towards a productive, fulfilling future. In addition, you'll gain important life insights and make friends from around the world. When all the components come together, it's a powerfully transformative experience, one that will probably change your life forever. You'll be amazed how much you discover about the world and yourself.

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A Perfect European Setting

Nestled along the Brittany shoreline in western France, an area famous for its excellent sailing and abundant wildlife, the centuries-old walled city of Saint-Malo once sheltered corsairs and pirates. Today its beautiful harbor, picturesque ramparts, and vibrant cafés and shops attract visitors from around the world. Because of its excellent facilities and proximity to such destinations as Mont-Saint-Michel, the Channel Islands, and ports along the southern coast of England, it's the ideal location for a program that encompasses both yachting and cultural exploration.

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“Impeccable guidance and mentorship..."

“Will Sutherland was an expedition leader at Aiglon College, Switzerland, where I went to high school. I signed up to be a part of his much-sought-after sailing team to race J24s at Cowes Week Regatta, and it was one of the most memorable and worthwhile experiences of my youth. Having never sailed before, I was apprehensive, but under Will’s impeccable guidance and mentorship, we felt safe yet consistently challenged as we learned the many important skills needed to sail a boat and compete effectively in a large race.  My best memories of the experience were bonding with my fellow boat mates as we pursued a common goal and learned to work together and communicate effectively under pressure and in a highly compressed period of time. Will is a tremendous organizer and inspiring leader who is highly adept at facilitating this type of endeavor.  I would wholeheartedly and enthusiastically recommend any program that he is involved with….and would sign up in a heartbeat if I were 18 again!”  

—Dariane H., Concord, MA, USA