Sailing Lifts Your Spirits

Sailing Lifts Your Spirits (SLYS) offers sailing experiences to first responders and frontline workers. The program is founded on the principle that sailing can improve mental health and strengthen resilience. 

According to mounting research, taking part in adventure sports (and sailing in particular) can improve mental resilience, equipping participants to withstand life’s challenges.

Sailing Lifts Your Spirits is conducted aboard Caprice, currently situated at Royal Brighton Yacht Club) and the program is based on three tenets – being active, getting out into nature and connecting with others.

Behind the Program

In 2016, Australian Leanne Grant travelled to America where she fell in love with and purchased Caprice, a 52ft performance cruising yacht. Leanne spent 18 months meticulously preparing Caprice for her successful voyage from New York to Melbourne, where she arrived on December 21 2018. 

Leanne says, “Caprice was designed to cross oceans and be sailed.. I will enjoy her everyday, she is for me!”. 

Leanne’s partner Gordon joined Caprice after deciding to focus on his passion for sailing after 35 years working in technology and computing. He completed Yacht Master Offshore Skipper, Commercial Endorsement and Cruising Instructor qualifications.

In January 2020 Leanne and Gordon launched SLYS in Sydney. Like many Australians, they were moved by the clear mental and physical toll impacting Australia’s first responders during the bushfire crisis of 2019/20.

Drawing on documented research showing that sailing could support mental health as well as their desire to share their love of sailing, Sailing Lifts Your Spirits was formed to support first responders and give Caprice a new meaning. 

Gordon says, “I’m really happy to be sharing Caprice with a new crew nearly every day.  Telling some sea stories to some of the bravest and hard working people I know, and hoping that they might pick up the passion and see sailing as a way of helping to stay healthy in every aspect of life”. 

The pilot program commenced in January 2020 Sydney inspiring Leanne and Gordon to continue the program year-round. Travelling with the weather and best sailing conditions, Caprice moves around Australia. They are currently at Royal Brighton Yacht Club supporting Melbourne’s first responders from St Vincents, the Alfred and Monash Hospitals. 

The Sailing Lifts Your Spirits Experience

The program is run from Royal Brighton Yacht Club from Monday to Friday, with participants booking via the website. Currently they can bring up to 5 guests depending on restrictions.

Once on board there is a full safety briefing and a brief history of the beautiful Caprice. After dropping lines and heading out onto the bay, the team hoists the sails, cuts the engine and enjoys the carbon neutral journey on the water. There is also the opportunity to take the helm, handle the lines (ropes) and get to learn some of the nautical terminology. Participants have the opportunity to meet some new connections when there is extra crew on the day. At the end of the experience, the group disembarks and debriefs, spending some time at the club with Leanne and Gordon. 

Creating Pathways To Regular Sailing  

Once the SLYS experience is over, Leanne and Gordon hope that participants have enjoyed it enough to seek further sailing opportunities with the Club. SLYS actively promotes the introduction of first responders to the club community, encouraging a means to continue sailing. Most sailing clubs offer a Sail Pass, which offers access to that club and its facilities for a limited time. It is an easy and affordable way for potential new members to try out sailing and clubhouse facilities without having to immediately subscribe to an annual membership. 

Program Funding

Sailing Lifts Your Spirits is completely free for first responders. Funding is dependent solely on community donations via the SLYS Go Fund Me page. As the awareness of the program grows and takes on more participants, more funding is required. Leanne and Gordon have committed themselves wholeheartedly to the program, but require financial support to implement it. If you agree that SLYS is a fantastic way to give back to first responders and share the benefits of sailing, please make a donation here.

Upcoming Events

Hosted by RBYC and Sailing Lifts Your Spirits, the Sunday Sundowner Session with the peninsula’s favourite band, President Roots, playing live in the Bayview Room at Royal Brighton Yacht Club.

We are a crowd-funded social enterprise, our goal is to get 1200 First Responders introduced to sailing in 2021. Every donation helps us meet the costs of running Sailing Lifts Your Spirit. Every $100 lets us take another very deserving First Responder out on Caprice for a Spirit Lifting experience.

Join us from 5pm – 9pm Sunday March 14, 2021. Royal Brighton Yacht Club – 253 Esplanade, Brighton, Victoria 3186

Tickets are $25.00 per person. To book, please go through TryBooking 

Please help us, to help those, who directly support our community every day. Check out the program at