Sailing the entire UK coastline to reconnect people with maritime heritage, culture, and identity.

When: 15th September 2015 – 30th November 2019

Where: Entire UK Coastline

What: Sail Britain is a unique sailing project to explore the British coastline through shared experience, cross-disciplinary creativity, and engagement with communities. We reconnect people with the UK’s maritime heritage, culture and identity, and highlight the extraordinary beauty of our coastal environment.

Who: Oliver Beardon and Elsa Hammond

Status: Live!

Links: Expedition Website

Sail Britain


We use a sailing boat as our platform for exploring the coastline and will undertake a multi-leg circumnavigation of the British Isles over 7 months. We sail with cross disciplinary groups of artists, scientists, writers and others whose work as part of our ‘Coastline Project’ is building a unique portrait of the entire coastline of the British Isles through their different disciplines. We believe this is a unique approach to the study of our coastline from a cultural, historical and environmental viewpoint, and facilitates both individual and collaborative projects.

Sail Britain. Copyright Oliver Beardon


You don’t need to jump on a long haul flight to find adventure. For a relatively small area, the coastline of the British Isles offers an extraordinary diversity of landscapes, wildlife, habitats, and human geography, yet it is often overlooked in favour of more far-flung and exotic locations. We are challenging this view and showing that Britain too offers incredible discovery and world-class adventure.

Sail Britain


Outline map of Great Britain showing boundaries of England, Scotland and Wales


To celebrate the diversity of our coastline from multidisciplinary viewpoints and share it with a wider audience through research, outreach activities and the creative arts.

To allow people to experience the coastline first hand through sail training.

To provide opportunities to people from a wide variety of backgrounds to work closely together and to develop new work, ideas and skills.

To engage with coastal communities to further understanding of our relationship with the sea.

Sail Britain. Copyright Oliver Beardon


Nothing beats direct experience to appreciate your environment. Providing an opportunity for people to actively engage with the sea and coastal communities will broaden people’s understanding of the importance and value of our coastal environment from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Britain’s shores face many of the same challenges affecting more high-profile locations; from Climate Change, eroding coastlines and marine plastic pollution, to over fishing and habitat loss. By better understanding and experiencing these issues close to home, we are better placed to finding solutions on a global scale.

Sail Britain


Meet the Expedition Team

Oliver Beardon – Sail Britain Director and Skipper
Oliver is wildly passionate about sailing and holds the RYA’s highly respected Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate. He fell in love with sailing the moment he was pushed out into Dover harbour as a child. He then sailed dinghies before joining Cambridge University Yacht Club while at university, and quickly developed an appetite for exploring wild places, becoming a senior club skipper in the process. He has sailed extensively around the UK, the Baltic and the Mediterranean but is especially drawn to the wild outlying islands of Scotland. Oliver has long experience working with groups of young people, leading expeditions and is an RYA Instructor.
Oliver is also a fully qualified architect with a particular interest in low energy buildings and sustainable communities as well as a keen photographer, maker and adventurer.

Elsa Hammond
Elsa is our literary expert and takes a special interest in the writing and poetry elements of the project.
An award-winning travel writer, Elsa has sailed from Samoa to Fiji, unicycled across England, carried out conservation work in the jungles of Borneo, and spent 51 days rowing alone on the Pacific Ocean.
Whilst rowing on the Pacific she worked as a citizen scientist in partnership with ASC, taking samples of seawater for research into microplastics. She has delivered countless talks and workshops across three continents, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.
Elsa is an Oxford graduate and is currently working towards a PhD in the poetry of Coleridge, Tennyson and Hardy at the University of Bristol. Alongside this she writes poetry and swims outdoors all year round. In 2015 she co-authored the award-winning Wild Guide to Southern and Eastern England, and is enjoying focusing her attention on the wild land and seascapes of the UK.

Sail Britain


In progress



In progress


On FacebookTwitter, Instagram, Vimeo, and Youtube.

Sail Britain

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