Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy
Sailing boats in Portland Harbour, seen from The Verne. The academy's clubhouse is on the far left.

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is a centre for the sport of sailing on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, on the south coast of England, United Kingdom. The academy building is located in Osprey Quay on the northern tip of the island, and the waters of Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay, adjacent to the site, are the main areas used for sailing. Local, national and international sailing events have been held at the site since it was opened in 2000, and in 2005 WPNSA was selected to host the sailing events at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.



The academy was formed as a not-for-profit company in 1999 and officially opened on 1 April 2000.[1] It occupied converted naval premises until a clubhouse was built, which was opened in June 2005 by the Princess Royal.[2] £7.85 million of funding for the project was donated by charities, individuals and local councils;[3] the National Lottery donated £3 million in 2003, and the South West Regional Development Agency added £3.34 million.[1] The academy's aims are to promote the sport of sailing at all levels of competence and ability, through courses, training and events, and to contribute to the economic regeneration of the area. Since opening it has created a demand in service and marine industries worth around £10 million.[1] WPNSA continues to promote sailing to local schools, offering benefits such as free boat hoist and storage. Use of the facilities and access to training is open to anyone in return for an annual membership fee.[1] On 6 July 2005, London was chosen to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the WPNSA was chosen to host the sailing events.[3]


The clubhouse in Osprey Quay

Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay are the main areas used for sailing. The harbour covers an area of 8.6 square kilometres (2,125 acres),[4] and is ideal for sailing as it is exposed to reliable winds from most directions, but is sheltered from large waves and currents by Chesil Beach and the breakwaters.[5][6] The clubhouse houses facilities on two floors, including a gymnasium, seven lecture and meeting rooms for 260 people, an event hall with kitchens and a bar, VIP meeting rooms and offices, a lounge bar and cafeteria seating 350 people, and two balconies.[7] The outside of the academy complex has a 40-metre (131 ft) slipway and two deep water slipways, 30 pontoons with disabled access, cranage and boat hoists, boat storage and parking areas.[1][7] WPNSA also operates Boscawen House, formerly an admiral's residence, which offers accommodation for a maximum of 47 people.[8] The clubhouse generates 15–20% if its electricity from solar cells, and rainwater is collected from the roof to wash boats.[5]

Osprey Quay

In November 2007, the Regional Development Agency signed a deal with Sutton Harbour Group to construct a 3-hectare (7-acre) year-round tourist and leisure complex in Osprey Quay, between Portland Castle and the academy. The £30 million scheme, called Castle Court, includes a hotel, apartments, public areas, a restaurant, shops and other employment space, and is expected to create 300 jobs. A permanent base for the Royal Yachting Association's senior, youth, junior and paralympic national sailing squads is to be provided.[9]


Topper dinghies racing at the 2006 National Championship

Since opening the academy has hosted national and international sailing events, including the J/24 World Championships in 2005, staging trials for the 2004 Athens Olympics, the ISAF World Championship 2006, the BUCS Fleet Racing Championships, and the RYA Youth National Championships.[10] Local events are also held at the academy; nearby schools have extra-curricular sailing lessons, and in October each year WPNSA hosts Weymouth Speed Week.[11] The British Olympic Sailing Team train at WPNSA.[12]

2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

In 2005, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) was chosen as the venue for the sailing competition at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. WPNSA was chosen to host these events due to its existing World class facilities. The Olympic Delivery Authority has built upon these facilities providing a new 220m slipway accessible at all states of tide and wind, an additional 70 marina berths and an extended dinghy park with capacity for 600 boats. In addition, the Academy provides direct access to Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay which have been credited as some of the best sailing waters in the World. Olympic sailing events will take place between 28 July and 11 August 2012, and Paralympic events will be between 31 August and 5 September. One course will be in Portland Harbour and four out in Weymouth Bay. Sailors from all over the world will compete for 48 medals in the Olympic Games and 18 medals in the Paralympic Games. A cruise liner berthed at Portland Port will be used as accommodation.

The academy is around 190 kilometres (120 mi) from the Olympic Zone in central London.[13] There is concern about the logistics of transporting athletes from London to the academy, as there is no motorway in Dorset, and transport links are already often congested in summer. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have lobbied the Department for Transport to lay dual railway track and increase services from Weymouth railway station to London and Bristol, and to introduce new direct services to Exeter.[14] Services to London Waterloo began running every 30 minutes from December 2007, but services through Bristol to Cardiff were stopped.[15] On 5 April 2007, Dorset County Council granted planning permission for a relief road scheme to alleviate congestion between Weymouth and Dorchester, which includes a single carriageway running 7 kilometres (4 mi) north of Weymouth, and a 1000-space park-and-ride scheme, costing £84.5 million.[16] Without major delays, work is expected to commence in 2008; it was agreed that the road be completed in three years, in time for the 2012 Olympic sailing events.[16]

The academy also hosted the prestigious Moth World Championships in 2008.


  1. ^ a b c d e "WPNSA – Background". Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 2007. Archived from the original on March 1, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070301094300/http://www.wpnsa.org.uk/background.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  2. ^ "Launch of elite sailing academy". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2005-06-09. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/4074618.stm. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  3. ^ a b "Sailing town's joy at Olympic win". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2005-07-06. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/4653721.stm. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  4. ^ "Portland, Dorset, England". The Dorset Page. 2000. http://www.thedorsetpage.com/locations/Place/P120.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  5. ^ a b "Dorset's Olympic Countdown". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2007. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dorset/content/articles/2007/09/07/olympic_venue_feature.shtml. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  6. ^ "Portland Harbour". Bristol Nomads Windsurfing Club. 2007. http://www.bristolnomads.org.uk/location_reports/s_coast/portland.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  7. ^ a b "WPNSA – Facilities". Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 2007. Archived from the original on March 1, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070301094146/http://www.wpnsa.org.uk/facilities.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  8. ^ "WPNSA – Accommodation". Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 2007. Archived from the original on March 1, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070301094422/http://www.wpnsa.org.uk/accommodation.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  9. ^ "£30 million leisure and tourism development for Osprey Quay". Sutton Harbour Group. 2007. http://www.sutton-harbour.co.uk/news.asp?NewsID=51. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  10. ^ "WPNSA – press releases". Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 2006. Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20061110235328/http://www.wpnsa.org.uk/pressreleases.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-12. 
  11. ^ "WPNSA – Calendar". Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 2007. Archived from the original on April 3, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070403102613/http://www.wpnsa.org.uk/calendar.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  12. ^ "WPNSA – Training". Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 2007. Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070626182453/http://www.wpnsa.org.uk/training.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  13. ^ "London's Olympics: From Wimbledon to Wembley". USA Today. 2005-07-06. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/summer/2005-07-06-london-venues_x.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  14. ^ "London 2012 Olympic Games Sailing Events". Dorset County Council. 2005. Archived from the original on August 23, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060823114618/http://www.dorsetforyou.com/index.jsp?articleid=352684. Retrieved 2006-08-22. 
  15. ^ "Rail timetable offers London at the double". Dorset Echo. 2007. http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/local/display.var.1881383.0.rail_timetable_offers_london_at_the_double.php. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  16. ^ a b "Green Light for Relief Road". Dorset Echo. 2007. http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/haveyoursay/makingtheheadlines/display.var.1311799.0.0.php?act=complaint&cid=178246. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 

External links

Coordinates: 50°34′7″N 2°27′12″W / 50.56861°N 2.45333°W / 50.56861; -2.45333

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