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23 Jun 2023

Exploring the World of Sailing with Identical Triplets: An Interview with Harry, Charlie, and Thomas White

Exploring the World of Sailing with Identical Triplets: An Interview with Harry, Charlie, and Thomas White
Sailing is a captivating sport that offers a unique blend of adventure, skill, and community. In this interview on the Live Stage at the BoatLife Show 2023, we had the pleasure of talking to identical triplets Harry, Charlie, and Thomas White about their sailing journey. From their early days in a simple dinghy to their recent achievements in cruiser racing, the White brothers share their experiences and insights into the world of sailing.

Identical Triplets with a Shared Passion
Harry, Charlie, and Thomas White have been sailing together since joining the Isle of Wight Royal Victoria Yacht Club, in 2008. Initially, they embarked on their sailing journey without any ambitions to race. However, they soon found themselves captivated by the thrill of competition and the desire to outperform each other. They began club racing and gradually ventured into regional events, all while revelling in the joy of being on the water.


From Optimists to Yachting
The brothers started out with small and simple boats that are ideal for learning and practicing. While they didn't start with optimists themselves, they highlight the accessibility of these boats for young children and newcomers to the sport.  They expressed how this new avenue has opened their eyes to different aspects of sailing and allowed them to acquire new skills, progress to bigger, more complex boats. They emphasised that sailing encompasses a wide range of opportunities and experiences, from small boats to performance yachts, showcasing the diversity and breadth of the sport.

Starting out in sailing in the UK can be an exciting and rewarding journey!

Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Research and Find a Sailing Club: Look for local sailing clubs or organisations in your area. These clubs often offer sailing lessons, training programs, and resources for beginners. Research their facilities, courses, and membership options to find the best fit for you.
  2. Take Sailing Lessons: Enrol in a sailing course or lessons to learn the fundamentals of sailing. Many sailing clubs offer certified training programs, ranging from beginner to advanced levels. These lessons will teach you essential skills such as boat handling, rigging, basic navigation, and safety procedures.
  3. Join a Crew or Sailing Group: Once you have acquired basic sailing skills, consider joining a crew or a sailing group. Crewing opportunities allow you to sail with more experienced sailors, learn from them, and gain practical experience on different types of boats. This can be an excellent way to expand your knowledge and network within the sailing community.
  4. Get Involved in Racing or Regattas: This is optional, but if you are interested in competitive sailing, participating in races or regattas can be a great way to improve your skills and challenge yourself. Many sailing clubs organise regular racing events for different skill levels. Joining these events will provide opportunities to test your abilities, learn race tactics, and meet fellow sailors.
  5. Rent or Buy a Boat: As you gain more experience and confidence, you may consider renting or buying your own boat. Start with smaller, more manageable boats suitable for beginners. Consult with experienced sailors or boat dealers to find the right type of boat for your skill level and sailing goals.
  6. Stay Safe and Learn Navigation: Familiarise yourself with safety procedures and regulations for sailing. Learn about navigation techniques, weather conditions, and how to handle emergencies on the water. Take courses or workshops on marine safety and navigation to ensure you are well-prepared.
  7. Engage in Continuous Learning: Sailing is a lifelong learning process. Stay curious, keep learning, and improve your skills through further training, workshops, and experiences. Connect with the sailing community, attend sailing events, and participate in educational programs to enhance your knowledge and proficiency.

Remember, starting out in sailing requires patience, practice, and a genuine passion for the sport. Be open to new experiences, seek guidance from experienced sailors, and enjoy the adventure of exploring the waters of the UK through sailing.


Recognition and Achievements
Harry, Charlie and Thomas discussed their recent accolades, they were proudly presented with the British Yachting Award they received for Young Sailors of the Year in 2022. The award was determined by public votes, showcasing the recognition and appreciation they garnered from the sailing community. The White brothers express their surprise and gratitude for the honour, highlighting the hard work and dedication they invested in their sailing endeavours.


Squib Racing and Competitive Spirit
The discussion shifts to their extensive involvement in squib racing, a competitive keelboat class sailed by a two-person crew, Harry, Charlie and Thomas shared their memorable participation in the prestigious Cowes race. Despite an initial last-place finish, their unwavering dedication and resilience proved fruitful as they ultimately clinched the coveted Team Management 2.5 Trophy, underscoring their remarkable prowess and unwavering enthusiasm for sailing, even when competing against teams composed entirely of members under the age of 25.


Making Sailing Accessible
Sailing has evolved into a more accessible and inclusive activity over time, breaking down barriers and welcoming a diverse range of participants in the UK. With initiatives and advancements aimed at promoting inclusivity, sailing has become increasingly open to people of different backgrounds, abilities, and ages.

Sailing clubs and organizations have taken proactive steps to make the sport more accessible. They have implemented programs and facilities to accommodate individuals with disabilities, providing adapted boats, ramps, and accessible amenities. This has allowed people with physical disabilities to engage in sailing and experience the joy of being on the water.

Additionally, sailing has become more affordable and attainable for individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds. There are now opportunities for subsidized or discounted memberships, training courses, and boat rentals, enabling a broader range of people to engage in the sport without financial barriers.

There's been a shift towards promoting gender equality and encouraging female participation. Women-specific sailing programs and events have been established to provide a supportive environment and opportunities for skill development. This has led to more women becoming involved in sailing and taking on leadership roles within the sailing community.

In recent years, youth sailing programs have also gained prominence, introducing young people to the sport and nurturing their skills from an early age. These initiatives aim to make sailing more appealing and accessible to the younger generation, fostering a lifelong passion for the sport. The White brothers emphasize the welcoming nature of sailing clubs, the abundance of youth programs, and the focus on community and social aspects. They encourage newcomers to explore sailing clubs, where they can learn from experienced sailors, participate in courses offered by organizations like the Royal Yachting Association, and enjoy the camaraderie and fun activities that sailing has to offer.


You can watch them on the stage, where Harry, Charlie, and Thomas share their story and provide a glimpse into the world of sailing and its potential for adventure, skill development, and community. Click to watch now!

Their journey from sailing in a simple bathtub boat to receiving prestigious awards is a testament to the joy and fulfilment that sailing can bring. In the UK sailing has become a more inclusive activity, ensuring that individuals from all walks of life can enjoy the thrill of sailing and the unique experiences it offers on the water. It's a sport that offers opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the thrill of the open water.

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